An RV fire is every RVer’s worst nightmare. But imagine you’re an RV dealership and own several hundred RVs when a fire breaks out.
That’s precisely what happened at one British Columbia RV service center. When the smoke settled, firefighters discovered the charred remains of RVs, approximately 100 RVs.
Let’s take a look at this unfortunate situation.
Where Did the RV Dealership Fire Break Out?
Less than five miles north of the Canada-U.S. border in Abbotsford, British Columbia, sits Fraserway RV. The fire broke out in the RV center’s massive sales lot with an estimated 400 to 500 RVs.
People could see the smoke across the border in the U.S. It blew west across the country into Whatcom County in Washington state.
How Did the Fire Get Started?
Officials are unclear as to what exactly started the fire. However, there’s a good chance it resulted from an electrical failure in one of the RVs. With the RVs packed so tightly together, a fire in a single RV would quickly spread in a domino-like path.
It’s a real challenge to stop a fire like that once it gets going.
Electrical fires are common occurrences in RVs, especially as wires and sensitive components corrode from moisture or water damage.
Mandatory evacuations were in place as a result of flooding in the area. These floodwaters would likely have created conditions ripe for an electrical fire.
What Made This Fire More Dangerous Than Most?
The popular saying, “When it rains, it pours,” is quite accurate for the city of Abbotsford. The area experienced unprecedented rainfall recently, which caused massive amounts of flooding.
Emergency services have been evacuating homes and businesses as well as closing or restricting access to several roads. Floodwaters surrounding the RV service center required rescue workers to get creative when battling the fire.
If that wasn’t enough, emergency services also had to work around large overhead power lines. This required them to partner with the local power authority, BC Hydro, to avoid escalating an already dangerous situation.
It’s easy to see why this was a challenging fire for firefighters to handle. It had all the ingredients of a perfect storm, making it difficult to minimize the spread and damages resulting from the fire.
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How Long Did It Take for the Fire to Be Extinguished?
Crews had to use a bit of creativity in using their ladder trucks to extend over floodwaters to get close to the fire. They also had to navigate around the high-voltage power lines stretching over the lot.
About 40 firefighters responded to the scene to try to contain the blaze. Their ingenuity and creativity paid off as they extinguished the fire in several hours.
When all was said and done, the fire left a path of destruction.
What Was the Total Damage Caused by the Fire?
Despite the best efforts from the fire department and other rescue workers, there was a massive amount of damage due to the fire.
Early estimates indicate that the blaze completely destroyed approximately 100 RVs, and many others suffered extensive damage. While they didn’t release any financial numbers in terms of damage, the fire likely caused millions of dollars of damage for the service center.
In situations like these, it’s typically a massive insurance claim for the RV service center.
It will likely take a considerable amount of time to investigate the situation and recover the business.
How Do RV Fires Start?
RV fires typically start as a result of faulty wiring and other malfunctions. In the colder months, we see an increase in RV fires as many RVers use space heaters and other portable heaters to stay warm. Space heaters produce massive amounts of energy and often push electrical wiring and components to their limits.
Malfunctions can also occur as a result of rodents getting into an RV. They’ll make a snack out of practically anything they can find. A fire can develop due to the slightest spark from one of these wires buried deep inside your RV.
Mice and other critters can also make nests inside an RV’s furnace. These nests can ignite inside the furnace and quickly become a major problem.
Pro Tip: Need a fire safety refresher? Find out Is Burning Cardboard OK While You’re Camping?
How Can You Prevent an RV Fire?
Inspect your wiring regularly, avoid pushing the limits when it comes to usage, and keep your RV sealed up to keep rodents out. Y
ou should also have at least one fire extinguisher in an easily accessible location in your RV. You can never take too many precautions when it comes to fire safety. Of course, that can’t prevent every incident, as this unfortunate story shows, but it may help.
RV Fires Are Bad News
Seeing an RV go up in flames is a depressing sight, whether it belongs to you or a dealership. However, seeing an entire lot full of RVs going up in flames is an out-of-this-world nightmare.
The RV service center will likely receive assistance from its insurance company. However, this type of experience can be a fatal blow for many dealerships. Only time will tell if the center can rise from the ashes and continue to provide service to customers.
Have you ever witnessed an RV on fire? Drop a comment below!
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