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Old 06-30-2008, 03:13 PM   #1
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Posted June 11, 2008.

"On Saturday night our motor coach was destroyed by fire in the hanger where we had it stored. The unit was plugged in to power the onboard battery charger, and the refrigerator was the only appliance that was operating.

This fire completely destroyed our coach, a neighbors coach, both of our Allison cars, two vintage truck and tons of shop equipment.

The point of this message is to notify everyone that has a motor coach or RV of any sort to check your refrigerator for recall. Both Dometic and Norcold have nation wide recalls for units going back to 1999. My coach had one of the model refrigerators that were listed as potential of fire. We were never notified of any recall, and thus had no idea of the potential of the risk. The potential of fire occurs during operation of the refrigerator while connected to shore power or on generator power. I have seen nothing that has indicated the risk while the units are running on gas.

Even if you are the original owner of your coach and RV, I know you would think that you will be notified of recalls. Not so in our case. We are the original owners and have not seen a recall notice from the coach manufacture or the refrigerator manufacture. We received one recall from Freightliner on the chassis the first year, but nothing since. In fact, there was a factory recall issued on our coach in September of 2005. Our coach was at the dealership for three weeks in Decmber of 2005 and there was no mention of this recall.

My coach was a 2005 Winnebago Journey 36 foot diesel pusher. Since the fire, I have also found out that there was a recall by Winnebago for improper venting of the refrigerator that could cause a fire. The recall number for this particular recall is Campaign #05V407000.

I am truly thankful that I was not using the coach when the fire occurred. Please, please check your RVs for this life safety concern. Loosing our coach and race cars has been difficult. I cant imagine what this would be like if someone had been killed or seriously injured.

We have not been given an exact cause of this fire, but the insurance companies are looking at the refrigerator as a significant cause. Please do the research and verify that you and your family are not at risk. This could very easily have happened track side while we were asleep. There are nearly 4000 documented RV fires every year and many result in loss of life.

Please Please look into this. Knowledge is powerful. In the case of our coach we may have found out too late."

Jay Carley
Allison Series Director
Texoma Legacy Motorsports"
----------------------------------------------

With this information I just reviewed our fire response and escape plan in our 2006 Itasca Model 35U. Standard equipment is only one fire extinguisher at the coach entry door.

If fire was in refrigerator or on kitchen stove..and I was in bathroom or bedroom...chances of me getting to the one entry door extinguiser are slim.

With this in mind (approx 4000 RV fires per year), I added another extinguisher in the back bedroom. This brings my total extinguishers to three. One inside entry door, one in bedroom, and one in forward outer side compartment for engine or outside BBQ fire.

Other thoughts from members or added knowledge about recalls on RV refrigerators in Winnebago vehicles?

Does any member know the specific causes of these electrical fires in the affected refrigerator models?

Pubtym
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Old 06-30-2008, 03:13 PM   #2
Winnie-Wise
 
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Posted June 11, 2008.

"On Saturday night our motor coach was destroyed by fire in the hanger where we had it stored. The unit was plugged in to power the onboard battery charger, and the refrigerator was the only appliance that was operating.

This fire completely destroyed our coach, a neighbors coach, both of our Allison cars, two vintage truck and tons of shop equipment.

The point of this message is to notify everyone that has a motor coach or RV of any sort to check your refrigerator for recall. Both Dometic and Norcold have nation wide recalls for units going back to 1999. My coach had one of the model refrigerators that were listed as potential of fire. We were never notified of any recall, and thus had no idea of the potential of the risk. The potential of fire occurs during operation of the refrigerator while connected to shore power or on generator power. I have seen nothing that has indicated the risk while the units are running on gas.

Even if you are the original owner of your coach and RV, I know you would think that you will be notified of recalls. Not so in our case. We are the original owners and have not seen a recall notice from the coach manufacture or the refrigerator manufacture. We received one recall from Freightliner on the chassis the first year, but nothing since. In fact, there was a factory recall issued on our coach in September of 2005. Our coach was at the dealership for three weeks in Decmber of 2005 and there was no mention of this recall.

My coach was a 2005 Winnebago Journey 36 foot diesel pusher. Since the fire, I have also found out that there was a recall by Winnebago for improper venting of the refrigerator that could cause a fire. The recall number for this particular recall is Campaign #05V407000.

I am truly thankful that I was not using the coach when the fire occurred. Please, please check your RVs for this life safety concern. Loosing our coach and race cars has been difficult. I cant imagine what this would be like if someone had been killed or seriously injured.

We have not been given an exact cause of this fire, but the insurance companies are looking at the refrigerator as a significant cause. Please do the research and verify that you and your family are not at risk. This could very easily have happened track side while we were asleep. There are nearly 4000 documented RV fires every year and many result in loss of life.

Please Please look into this. Knowledge is powerful. In the case of our coach we may have found out too late."

Jay Carley
Allison Series Director
Texoma Legacy Motorsports"
----------------------------------------------

With this information I just reviewed our fire response and escape plan in our 2006 Itasca Model 35U. Standard equipment is only one fire extinguisher at the coach entry door.

If fire was in refrigerator or on kitchen stove..and I was in bathroom or bedroom...chances of me getting to the one entry door extinguiser are slim.

With this in mind (approx 4000 RV fires per year), I added another extinguisher in the back bedroom. This brings my total extinguishers to three. One inside entry door, one in bedroom, and one in forward outer side compartment for engine or outside BBQ fire.

Other thoughts from members or added knowledge about recalls on RV refrigerators in Winnebago vehicles?

Does any member know the specific causes of these electrical fires in the affected refrigerator models?

Pubtym
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Old 06-30-2008, 03:38 PM   #3
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Two Questions:

1. Where can we find if Dometic has recalled our refrigerator.

2. I plan to add a fire extinguisher to the bedroom, what type should I purchase?
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Old 06-30-2008, 03:54 PM   #4
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by LK23:
Two Questions:

1. Where can we find if Dometic has recalled our refrigerator.

2. I plan to add a fire extinguisher to the bedroom, what type should I purchase? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

At this point, I do not know a contact number for Dometic and recall info. Hopefully other members will provide it soon.

The fire extinguisher I just added to the coach bedroom is an all purpose dry chemical model..(Fire Category A/Trash-Wood-Paper, Category B/Liquids, Category C/Electrical Equipment). Brand name on mine is "First Alert". I bought it at Walmart...about $19. Wall mount package included.
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Old 06-30-2008, 03:59 PM   #5
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Motor Coach/RV fires can spread very fast. Here's another graphic RV fire story from Gary Swain. I met him last week when he installed a MotoSat Dish on my rig. From my conversation with him, his coach fire began in the rear engine compartment.

http://swaimquest.com/Coach_Fire.aspx
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Old 07-01-2008, 04:24 AM   #6
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by LK23:
Two Questions:

1. Where can we find if Dometic has recalled our refrigerator.

2. I plan to add a fire extinguisher to the bedroom, what type should I purchase? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Rex - the recalled fridges are Dometic models and not Norcold.

Dometic has taken out full-page ads in most RV publications for the last couple of years (at least) announcing the recall.

Buy foam extinguishers - Google Mac Mcoy - he does fire safety seminars at FMCA rallies and sells the foam ones. (If you ever discharge a dry chemical extinguisher, you will have a humongous clean-up effort with the chemical.)
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Old 07-01-2008, 07:00 AM   #7
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by John_Canfield:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by LK23:
Two Questions:

1. Where can we find if Dometic has recalled our refrigerator.

2. I plan to add a fire extinguisher to the bedroom, what type should I purchase? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Rex - the recalled fridges are Dometic models and not Norcold.

Dometic has taken out full-page ads in most RV publications for the last couple of years (at least) announcing the recall.

Buy foam extinguishers - Google Mac Mcoy - he does fire safety seminars at FMCA rallies and sells the foam ones. (If you ever discharge a dry chemical extinguisher, you will have a humongous clean-up effort with the chemical.) </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

John,

Dometic recall info.

http://www.rv.net/FORUM/index.cfm/fu...d/18592867.cfm

My understanding is foam extinguiser is not Class C (Electrical)fire rated...and I see warnings not to use foam near live electrical sources(microwave-converter-entertainment center items-Exterior A/C control box, interior AC and 12V switch and fuse panels-Inverter)...that's why I believe the all purpose (dry chemical) to be best overall option inside coach.

Outside..where oil-gas-grease fire most probable..foam...agree there..

Effective multisource fire extinguish capability is my main objective in interior. I'll deal with collateral cleanup as side bar.

Thanks.
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Old 07-01-2008, 10:50 AM   #8
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8 months ago, we were following a rig up the west slope of the Oregon cascades, doing about 50 mph and to our great horror and surprise, we watched it catch fire! The driver pulled over, several rigs pulled over, and we all emptied our puny little extinguishers, all five of them, to no avail. No one was hurt, and they even got the dog out, but the coach was totally lost. Point is -- consider carrying one extinguisher that is bigger, maybe a 5 or 10 pound ABC (all-combustibles), so you can bring some serious extinguishing agent if you ever need it. Another aspect of fire safety, and possibly more important than how many extinguishers you have on board, is to make sure every person in your rig knows how to release, open, kick-out or otherwise remove (whatever it takes) your rear escape window. Not to preach, but some communication on fire safety can make the difference.
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Old 07-01-2008, 10:55 AM   #9
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by steelhead_bluesman:
8 months ago, we were following a rig up the west slope of the Oregon cascades, doing about 50 mph and to our great horror and surprise, we watched it catch fire! The driver pulled over, several rigs pulled over, and we all emptied our puny little extinguishers, all five of them, to no avail. No one was hurt, and they even got the dog out, but the coach was totally lost. Point is -- consider carrying one extinguisher that is bigger, maybe a 5 or 10 pound ABC (all-combustibles), so you can bring some serious extinguishing agent if you ever need it. Another aspect of fire safety, and possibly more important than how many extinguishers you have on board, is to make sure every person in your rig knows how to release, open, kick-out or otherwise remove (whatever it takes) your rear escape window. Not to preach, but some communication on fire safety can make the difference. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Good points..
Sounds like this was a rear engine/pusher fire?
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Old 07-01-2008, 12:00 PM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Pubtym:
--snip--My understanding is foam extinguiser is not Class C (Electrical)fire rated...and I see warnings not to use foam near live electrical sources(microwave-converter-entertainment center items-Exterior A/C control box, interior AC and 12V switch and fuse panels-Inverter)...that's why I believe the all purpose (dry chemical) to be best overall option inside coach.

Outside..where oil-gas-grease fire most probable..foam...agree there..

Effective multisource fire extinguish capability is main my objective in interior. I'll deal with collateral cleanup as side bar.

Thanks. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>There are foam extinguishers that are safe on Class C fires. Here is the link to "Mac the Fire Guy" who we saw in action at an FMCA rally in Perry a few years ago.

I want nothing to do with dry chemical extinguishers.
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Old 07-01-2008, 12:08 PM   #11
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Has a competent fire inspector pinned the source on the refrigerator? I would be more likely to suspect a boiled dry battery if you had it plugged into a charger source for any period of time without checking the water regularly.
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Old 07-01-2008, 12:11 PM   #12
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There's LOTS of information on Dometic refrigerator fires and recalls in both the iRV2.com General Discussion and the RV Systems and Appliances forums.

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Old 07-01-2008, 01:17 PM   #13
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Pubtym:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by steelhead_bluesman:
8 months ago, we were following a rig up the west slope of the Oregon cascades, doing about 50 mph and to our great horror and surprise, we watched it catch fire! The driver pulled over, several rigs pulled over, and we all emptied our puny little extinguishers, all five of them, to no avail. No one was hurt, and they even got the dog out, but the coach was totally lost. Point is -- consider carrying one extinguisher that is bigger, maybe a 5 or 10 pound ABC (all-combustibles), so you can bring some serious extinguishing agent if you ever need it. Another aspect of fire safety, and possibly more important than how many extinguishers you have on board, is to make sure every person in your rig knows how to release, open, kick-out or otherwise remove (whatever it takes) your rear escape window. Not to preach, but some communication on fire safety can make the difference. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Good points..
Sounds like this was a rear engine/pusher fire? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yep. In a brand new Beaver. Their maiden voyage, they said!
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Old 07-01-2008, 01:25 PM   #14
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by John_Canfield:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Pubtym:
--snip--My understanding is foam extinguiser is not Class C (Electrical)fire rated...and I see warnings not to use foam near live electrical sources(microwave-converter-entertainment center items-Exterior A/C control box, interior AC and 12V switch and fuse panels-Inverter)...that's why I believe the all purpose (dry chemical) to be best overall option inside coach.

Outside..where oil-gas-grease fire most probable..foam...agree there..

Effective multisource fire extinguish capability is my main objective in interior. I'll deal with collateral cleanup as side bar.

Thanks. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>There are foam extinguishers that are safe on Class C fires. Here is the link to "Mac the Fire Guy" who we saw in action at an FMCA rally in Perry a few years ago.

I want nothing to do with dry chemical extinguishers. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Interesting stuff. But, at those prices, I could carry one dry extinguisher in each hand..one in each pocket..and one between each big toe..and two more under each arm..now that's a heavy dry chemical response.
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