Wednesday, September 28, 2022

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RVers buy motorhome for $1. Then they light it on fire!

Our friends Marc and Julie Bennett of RVlove.com have performed a wonderful service for RVers. They’ve produced a fascinating video that may help save many of them from the misfortune of watching their RV go up in flames.

The Bennetts conducted an experiment that we have never seen done before. They bought an RV for a dollar, and then lit it on fire.

They arranged to have the abandoned 1973 Winnebago Indian motorhome towed to a large dirt lot. The RV was in bad shape from years of neglect. The roof was partially caved in and the interior was a mess. They patched the RV up a bit so at a quick glance it might appear to be livable. They furnished it with many of the items RVers would normally carry with them – a closet filled with clothing, food items, linens, plastic water bottles and other items.

For the experiment they set up about a half dozen video cameras, three of them inside the RV. They were enclosed in shoebox-sized containers Marc and Julie hoped would save them from the flames and extreme heat. Outside, they placed other cameras to capture the fire from start to finish.

Then, after some setbacks, including waiting around on no-burn days due to wildfire danger, the time was right for the experiment.

Local firemen and a fire truck were enlisted to be on hand. When the moment arrived, a fireman set a simulated grease fire on the stovetop. He left the RV, slammed the door and quickly walked away. All cameras were rolling. Marc, Julie and other witnesses provided commentary on what happened next.

We once heard a fireman describe RVs as “perfect burning machines,” which is pretty much true. Think about your own RV and what it’s made of, and what’s inside, and you’ll understand why he would say that.

But for now, we urge you to watch the Bennetts’ video. And then, after reading this newsletter, inspect your fire extinguishers, check that your emergency exit works, and continue to read the many fire safety articles we publish at RVtravel.com.

Click the video below to play it.

And you might also want to check out the Bennetts’ new book RV Hacks, available at major bookstores and Amazon.com.

To learn more about how the Bennetts went about setting up and executing their experiment, click here. It was a long, challenging process.

##RVT1021

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Tom
8 months ago

Global warming? Wasting firefighters time? These comments are ridiculous. The first five minutes are the most important as the smoke alarms didn’t sound until after the 1 minute mark. Knowing an average response time of 8 minutes was interesting as the vehicle is at a total loss. Best to get that fire under control in the first minute or bail out of the rig.

Richard Wellington
8 months ago

Read all the clowns complaining about the training fire, the smoke, the waste, the global warming, etc; where were you all when the marchers were burning down all the businesses, etc during the BLM protests??? Explain what the difference is? Great training and educational opportunity for many…

Donald N Wright
8 months ago

My, Rose is really unhappy. Thank you for the demonstration, for the volunteers and the paid fire fighters. As a former CERT, this was an important demonstration on how quickly an RV can catch fire. I hope RVTravel can demonstrate automatic foam extinguishers for RV use.

Rose Dickerson
8 months ago

BuT hey
YOU MADE A VIDEO, so that makes ya kewl!
I think it’s unacceptable. And if those firefighters have time on their hands, here in Kern Valley, in CA Mountains, we got fires taking everyone out, consistently….
AND YA ALL TALK TOO MUCH & MAKING IT A FUN AFFAIR, Arrogant of You.
Disturbing

Rose Dickerson
8 months ago

You actually bought wood to repair things before you intentionally destroyed it, a very decent Coleman Stove, also destroyed, also purchased propane to just waste!
Ate up firefighters time .
Maybe your all rich and just don’t give a **** about others who could of used those things, clothes & even FOOD to BURN!

Rose Dickerson
8 months ago

And these views are my own opinion and not relatively In order.
The resources you destroyed in that Mini Winnie, like the water heater and furnace alone would have sold for close to $2K… Waste is so unacceptable.

Rose Dickerson
8 months ago

Albiet, this may have educated some, the percentages outweigh the supposed logic here.
Firstly, the most disturbing to me is the amount of hard toxins you released into the airspace… You even spoke about it beforehand. I want to say stupid, I’ll just say dumb.
Continued..

Uncle Swags
11 months ago

I was hoping they would pick the RV with the graffiti “This is Meth”.

Much more appropriate than poor Granma and Granpa’s RV. And the former owners would have been much more entertaining.

cee
11 months ago

Thanks Marc and Julie and all those involved. Awareness is important.

Merlin B.
11 months ago

Too much BS. 25 minutes wasted watching what could have been shown in 10. Don’t need your agonizing over local fire conditions, thrift shop clothes, and explodable shock absorbers. Get the RV, set it on fire, show the result. And the result was totally predictable: a pile of charred remains sitting on a vehicle chassis.

Cynthia Kane
11 months ago

No seat belt on the driver. Not a good thing

Susan Smith
11 months ago

Thank you for this very informative and well-done video on fire safety in RVs. As a side note: It didn’t hurt my feelings one bit that a good ole’ 1973 Winnebago Indian Brave RV, which would have been assembled in the factory of Winnegabo Industries in my hometown of Forest City. Iowa, was used in this demonstration fire.

Derek
11 months ago

Eye opening! Will be getting a couple more extinguishers. Thank you!

Bill
11 months ago

Would have been really great information to see the video from the cameras inside as well, as that is what the RVer would be experiencing during a fire.

Diane Mc
11 months ago
Reply to  Bill

Well, they did, at the beginning of the fire. You can watch as it starts with the stove and then things above & near. Within minutes you couldn’t see anything but black smoke, so even if they have other interior videos you probably can’t see anything and it doesn’t matter as everything was gone. Would like to know about the fire proof document holder though. I doubt it survived, but who knows.

Bonita
11 months ago
Reply to  Diane Mc

Regarding the document holder, check the video again, all the way through. At around 23:30, they bring out the fire-resistant envelope with their book in it.

Jack S
11 months ago
Reply to  Diane Mc

As a firefighter, I can tell you that is how it is. It’s not like TV and Movies. We use thermal cameras and feel to get around in fires.

cee
11 months ago
Reply to  Diane Mc

The fire proof document holder did survive; they showed it towards the end. It was a KeeQii Fireproof Bag,17 x 12 x 5 inch

Diane Mc
11 months ago
Reply to  cee

Guilty of fast forwarding, but thought I watched to the end. Thank you everyone who mentioned the bag. On Amazon, $30 for 2 sizes and they have others. Small price to pay to save important docs. Thanks again.

Edward
11 months ago

I’m wondering if Brian Laundrie’s body was in there. Now they will never find it.

Edward
11 months ago

“It’s some of the worst stuff I’ve seen in 30 years,” said one longtime RV dealer. “It’s horrendous inside and out. But we have no recourse but to put it on the lot and try to sell it. You take what you can get, and you move on.” Straight from the newsletter. This is your audience.

Irv
11 months ago

The important part starts happening at the 17 min mark.

Cindy
11 months ago

This was really well done. Thank you for doing it!

Ran
11 months ago

The moral of the story is true. However, it breaks my heart to see that RARE CLASSIC Motorhome set on fire!….

Leslie Berg
11 months ago
Reply to  Ran

Me too. But they noted the Winnebago was so badly neglected the roof was partially caved in and interior exposed. So any restoration would have been a major effort and expense. Winnie bravely (she’s an Indian) sacrificed herself for science.

John Goodell
11 months ago

Great video, great effort, greatly educational. This really shows how an RV goes up really fast. Considering the ability of the camper with a hand-held fire extinguisher, the speed of the fire, the availability of emergency exits, and the response time of the fire department, this really shows how life threatening the fire is. Number one, get your family out. If you can’t put it out within seconds, it will be hopeless and you need to bail out.

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