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Author Topic: Prevost conversion burns near Mt Vernon,Texas Friday afternoon.  (Read 4718 times)
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« on: January 22, 2011, 08:13:20 AM »

http://www.kltv.com/global/story.asp?s=13887147

Sad to see a nice coach burn along side of the interstate.

jlv
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2011, 08:19:51 AM »

jlv, you must have some inside information.  The link does not have any significant information and I can't tell much from the photo.

Can you shed any light on the terrible situation.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2011, 09:01:01 AM »

tire fire

http://www.singingnews.com/Southern-Gospel-News/11644582/

tg
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2011, 09:06:28 AM »

  Is there some problem with Prevost? I am rather new to jumping into to buses, at least seriously looking at them as an RV, and have been seaching various web sites for over a year, craigs, etc., looking, learning. Prevosts seem a bit rarer, and a LOT more money, on average, from what I have seen, but just in the last week I have learned of three that suffered from fire damage. This one would make four. Is there some electrical issue??

  
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2011, 09:40:10 AM »

Art (hope that is right - darn, I wish folks would put their name in their profile and/or signature), fire is always a possibility no matter what the situation (car/house/RV/bus).  

Oftentimes, the fires result from a problem caused by the owner.  We had a fire in the house that was a result (in part) for our kids putting dirty clothes too close to the furnace (am pretty sure we had a pressure regulator that was going bad at the same time).  However, there are also fires that are the result of a design problem.  For example, in the '70s they built houses with aluminum wiring throughout the house - lots of fires and lawsuits.  Today, there are a very large number of RV fires that are the result of a Norecold fridge problem:

http://www.norcoldrecall.com/

This is their second (at least) recall and there have been people killed from my understanding.  If you do a Google search on Norcold + fire, you will see a ton of lawyers wanting to represent you Roll Eyes

In the case of buses and most RVs, electrical fires are not a huge problem (with the exception of some high current 12V battery type cables).  Most of the fires that I know about (and I hear of most of them because of our business), are tire/brake, engine (lots of sources in that compartment), and generator (and, lately fride fires).  

For the most part, tire/brake fires can be avoided with good maintenance, proper driving, and closely watching tire pressure.  This particular fire was reportedly a tire fire (blowout).  Sometimes that just happens, but most of the time, it is the result of under-inflation or a tire that is "old".  There are lots of thoughts on what too old is, but Michelin has published a paper that says that truck/RV tires should be replaced if they are more than 10 years old.

Bottom line, I don't know of any bus, even our old units, that have any increased incident of fires.  That assumes that they were built and maintained properly - a huge assumption and an even larger discussion subject.  For example, one only has to read one of the many threads on electrical wiring to see some areas where folks have "done it their way" and their way may be considered "marginal" by technically competent folks.

Sorry, long post to a quick question.

Jim
« Last Edit: January 22, 2011, 09:53:24 AM by rv_safetyman » Logged

Jim Shepherd
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2011, 10:11:19 AM »

Art (hope that is right - darn, I wish folks would put their name in their profile and/or signature), fire is always a possibility no matter what the situation (car/house/RV/bus). 

  Its Paul, no biggie Jim.

  I do appologise, not actually asking if it was a problem specific to Prevost, as much as some issue that could relate to any particular convertor or whatever. Just seemed odd, with all the MCI's around to see four toasted Prevost in such a short period. Interesting about the fridge. And that too, can lead to a particular builder who might use the same equipment in a build.

  Interesting as well, that instead of building these refrigerators better and more efficient, they figured out to do just the opposite. Like everything else we buy these days. Some old Dometics from the 60's are still working. I doubt many from the 90's still do. Had mine repaired 5 years ago after it blew.

  I once saw a big Bus type RV on a sales lot start smoking out the right front. The lot was closed and the camper was locked. The smoke increased, 911 was called, soon you could see flames by the bumper. Fire and Police showed up and blocked the highway, but the Firefighters wouldnt go near it, just sprayed down the units near it and let it burn. As sad as it was, it was facinating to watch. Once the fire broke through the floor and you could see the inside fill with smoke, from that poiint the entire rig was engulfed inflame in less than 5 minutes. Then the tires caught on fire and exploded. From when we first saw smoke, the rig was completely burned to the ground in less than 30 minutes.

 
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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2011, 10:33:28 AM »

Paul, you mentioned Dometic.  They too, have the same problem and a major recall.  The Norcold just seems to get the most publicity.  The really frightening thing is that each time you see their recall, they seem to expand the models involved.  It almost looks like everything that they have made in last decade is toast.  Many folks think that their "fixes" are, at best, band-aids.  For the life of me, I don't know how they have survived.  They must have a huge insurance policy. 

I have been in contact with a fellow in Albuquerque, who was in his coach when the fridge fire started - no warning.  He said that a couple of folks came out to look at the coach (looked like it was repairable), and without any quibbling,  they told him to go out and buy an equivalent coach and they would pay for it!!!

When we went to the bus rally in Carthage MO this past October, several of us toured an amazing RV wrecking yard:

http://www.colawrvsalvage.com/AboutUs/tabid/59/Default.aspx

I walked through acres of RVs (mostly motorhomes) and was blown away at the percentage of units that were destroyed by fire.  Admittedly many were older units with front gas engines, but many were newer diesel pusher engine units. Of the newer units, I would say that many were engine fires.  Should have taken notes and lots of pictures.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2011, 11:27:11 AM »


I walked through acres of RVs (mostly motorhomes) and was blown away at the percentage of units that were destroyed by fire. Jim

  Not to discount the many possible faults RV's can have, including cheapo junk refrigerators, I am reminded of a conversation I had back about 1980 in a foreign car salvage yard I frequented. I was looking around and noted all the Jags, Porches, Alfas, Saabs, Volvos and Mercedes that were burned. The owner pointed out the difficult financial troubles that plauged the late 1970's of the Carter era. Cars had plummeted in value and with so many struggling or having lost their job, there was a giant spike in burned cars. Given the extreme financial mess of the last couple years, it wouldnt surprise me if there were some who could find no other way out.

  This is a good time to to remind all of us keep a watchful eye on our rigs and their various systems. With the materials used to build them, even a Bus conversion, a fire can spread very rapidly and quickly overwhelm any suppresion system. By the time you hear a smoke alarm you could be in very grave danger. Thinking about how you'll escape, and even more so, how you will get your loved ones out, should really be given some deep thought now, before it can happen. If your kids are sleeping up front, you and Mama in the back, and the fridge catches fire forcing you out your bedroom window, how will you get through the locked front door to save your kids???
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« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2011, 01:16:26 PM »

http://www.rvvideos.com/2008/07/your-new-car-or-rv-tires-could-kill-you.html
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« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2011, 04:41:03 PM »

Wow, what a hatchet job!!  Take a look at it again and you will note that their "experts" have a vested interest in legal action.

I spent all my working life in the rubber industry and it can tell you that there was some real crap in that segment.  Properly stored tire do not "dry out".  Made my skin crawl. 

I have served as an expert witness on some cases where the opposing side hired "experts" who were nothing more than blowhards.  I love to go up against these self appointed experts.

As you can tell, this video really upset me!!!

Jim

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Jim Shepherd
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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2011, 03:20:41 AM »

I read that water is the best thing to put out a tire fire. Does it make any sense to plumb a spray system of sorts to each wheel well? I have the floor removed from my MCI and had been thinking that water lines could be run to each wheel. At each wheel I could put a manual shutoff, leave them all open. In the event of a tire fire you would flip a switch that opened the line that fed this loop, then quickly shut the valves that you could reach to really soak the affected tire. Probably silly but something I had been thinking about. (Long winter in Maine) David
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« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2011, 05:01:13 AM »

 Jim are you saying that tires that have been stored out of sun are okay even if they are 12 years old?  I have no idea my self but most are saying that our bus tires should be replaced at 6-8 years by the date on them. Should that be 6 years from date put in use? Does sitting and not being driven shorten life of tires?   Rod
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« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2011, 10:23:05 AM »

Rod, storing tires in sunlight would really shorten the life.  Most tires are stored in a warehouse and that does not hurt the tire.  The big culprit is ozone and that comes from mother nature and electrical stuff. 

When I was running our test lab at Gates, a mechanic came to me and said that he have found a belt on the roof of the factory and would it like to see it.  We used to pull belts out of manufacturing (very fresh) to use on our equipment.  The date code on the belt suggested it had been on the roof for 16 years!!!  It happened to be a size we could dyno test, so we ran it and it ran as good as the other belts.

On another thread, there was mention of running the tires.  There is some truth to that.  All rubber product, especially tires have an anti-oxidant compound that "bleeds" out as the tire is fatigued (run).  It is designed to do that to protect the tire from ozone degradation.  That is one of the reasons my blood boiled when I watched that "scare tactic" video.  They talked about the tire "drying out".  The only time that would be true is if it were stored in the sun for very long periods of time. 

That video was so wrong on so many fronts, that it just does not deserve my time to debate it.

The debate about manufacture date vs date of installation is a tough one.  First, if they are not tires you installed, you have no idea how long they were on vs when they were made.  There, you have to go by the code date.  All products go through several layers of warehousing.  At Gates we warehoused them first in our warehouse, then sent them to a master distributor and then to the dealer (and maybe one or two more steps in between).  Lots of opportunity for "slippage" in terms of getting the product to the customer.  Bottom line, my personal practice will be to replace them about 8 years from my installation date -  if inspections don't reveal problems.

I will give you an example of what a huge problem "distribution can be.  Farmers use a hose for transferring anhydrous ammonia (a high pressure gaseous material used for fertilizer).  If the hose fails in a confined area, a person in that area will die almost instantly.   The industry always had several lawsuits going on at any given time.  RMA and the industry developed a code date system and made it "mandatory" to replace the hose after a certain period of time (don't recall how long, but something like 5 years).  Gates did a study and found that the various levels of distribution, could easily eat up over half the time, and our dealers could be stuck with hose they could not sell.  We finally exited the business.

There are a ton of government funded studies performed by various universities.  Their universal finding is that the major cause of tire failure (between 80% and 95%) is under-inflation.  It has been a while since I looked at these studies, but I don't think that age was any significant factor.

When you pick away at various tire related threads in RV forums, you will see a significant number of tire failures on fairly new tires.  Hard to tell what the cause was (I suspect under-inflation or road debris/curb damage).  However, I suspect that some of them were defective tires from the factory - it happens. 

The one thing I am very concerned about is tire quality from the manufacturer.  This is more of a problem with car tires, but there are some really terrible quality rubber products coming in from off-shore.  I did some consulting in China in 2006 (belts) and I was blown away at how archaic their technology (materials and processes) was and that they had almost zero quality conscientiousness, let alone a QC program. 

Please do not misunderstand what I am saying.  You simply can't run tires forever.  That is not what I am saying.  I think that the Michelin paper should be the guideline for responsible practice.

Sorry for my longer than normal rambling - can you tell that is video really pi**ed me off??? Angry

Jim

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Jim Shepherd
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« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2011, 06:36:09 PM »

I read that water is the best thing to put out a tire fire. Does it make any sense to plumb a spray system of sorts to each wheel well?/////snip////// David

Actually David, there is something better.

Jim (RV safetyman) sells cold fire, fire extinguishers. We have a very large one mounted up front in the cabin of our bus. I have seen video's, and Jim has also done research. With that extinguisher, I feel like we have the best chance of fighting a tire fire, of just about anything. We have another smaller extinguisher mounted in the bedroom in the back.

That Cold fire stuff is so easy to use. And it also offers such peace of mind. If we have a tire fire, I feel like we have some chance now.

HTH

God bless,

John
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« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2011, 12:56:08 PM »

Most fire depts will let fiberglass burn it self out water is a waste of time unless it is caught early,we saw a new H-45 burn last night at Avondale AZ wasn't a conversion but a seated bus they stood there and let in burn all the people were safe.
Not starting a debate but the Fire Captain told me burning was less toxic than trying to water down the blaze with all the different materials on the bus this is the second time I saw a fire dept let a bus burn it's self out



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« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2011, 02:52:30 PM »

Same issue with boat fires. the foam is very expensive and they rarely use it if everyone and property is safe. David i was thinking the same thing as you with the cheepo tire fire water to the wheel wells. It could buy some time. The morning before we got to Arcadia we had spent the night at the Sprawl-mart in Savannah and a beautifull S&S rig with matching trailer took off right befor we did. No walk around,visual or even a basic tire check. Less than 40 miles down the road he had lost the driver side steer. Did a good job to get to the center median but i would bet it was underinflated tire. In the summer this could have been a tire fire.
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« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2011, 05:17:33 AM »

I would guess that it would probably take a thousand gallons of water to extinguish a tire fire.  Once they get burning, they are difficult to put out.
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« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2011, 05:24:41 AM »

Not sure how much water would be required, but Jim Shephard's extinguisher's use a "wet water" solution. This allows the water to absorbmuch more heat. Lowering the temperature to below the temperature needed to susutain combustion is how it puts out the fire. I do know a given amount of "wet water" can put out a much larger fire than plain water.  We frequently used "wet water" on fires that involved a large amount of class A combustibles such as a barn full of hay or a large pile of tires.  Jack
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« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2011, 05:48:34 AM »

Jim,

Can you post the link to where you showed pictures of the tire fire control? I thought I saw them on your website, but it may have been another site. However, I thought you got a tire burning, while floating in a mixture of oil and diesel, and you put the fire out like three time with the one extinguisher...

Link?

God bless,

John
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« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2011, 06:36:39 AM »

John, here is the link to the page:

http://www.rvsafetysystems.com/Handheld%20Fire%20Extinguishers.htm

I want to put the actual video on the site, but that project seems to get lost in the list.

A couple of additional thoughts.  Water is not all that great of a fire suppression material.  It is used in house fires because the supply is very large and the firefighters have access to fogging nozzles.  In our RVs, we have very limited water supply and no good way to of distributing it.

Like others, I am concerned about tire fires.   We have quite a few of them in CO, but they almost always result from overheated brakes which kill the oil seal on the axles.  That, in turn, starts the tire on fire.  All of that suggests that good driving practices can virtually eliminate that cause of the fire.  Another source is dragging brakes and that can be prevented by good maintenance.  Lastly, a problem with one of the duals (low pressure in one tire or an undetected failure of one tire) can cause the good tire to carry too much weight and that can cause a fire.

When you think about it, WE can reduce the probability of a tire fire.  I will not drive a mile without my tire pressure monitor system working AND with the knowledge that I do a reasonable job of inspecting my brakes.

If I have a tire fire, for whatever reason, I have a chance of extinguishing the fire with my 2.5 gallon extinguisher -- IF i catch it early enough.

One final thought.  I have never heard of a blowout causing a fire.  My guess is that the tire was very hot from under-inflation or the brake was dragging.

Jim

BTW, I show the video of the test at trade shows  and am often asked if the white material is foam.  Nope that is snow! Grin
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Jim Shepherd
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« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2011, 09:07:28 AM »

  We add some fire retardent to the water to make it foam called F-500 IIRC, but everyone says its just real expensive liquid soap. And plain old soap will work, just add enough Dawn or whatever to make it foam up. One of our more frequent calls out here are brush fires. Our brush trucks carry 250 to 300 gallons of water mixed with retardent, and its almost always more than enough.

  I agree that a tire fire is more likely from the brake overheat or running low pressure, a simple blowout, hitting debris, isnt normally going to generate enough heat before you notice the problem. Drivinghabits and maintenence would probably prevent most any tire fire. But once the tire is burning, your only hope is to get the heat down, and water could do that. A fine wide pattern spray is more effective and uses less water.

  In a large RV, most of us are carrying a load of water. I would guess we all have at least 20 gallons at any given time, and often a bit more. Its possible we could install a higher flow, higher pressure pump, and using an injector, be able to pump a water/soap mix onto a fire. From any one location, we wouldnt need more than 75 feet of hose. In fact, using quick couplers located around the Bus, one 25 foot hose could reach any area. I believe a simple system could be fabricated quite inexpensively.

  I know there are some who would argue that as long as its insured, just let her burn. But if any are like me, out on the road that RV is our home. There is nothing wrong with having better equipment, and nothing wrong with being proactive. If you have the means, there is no reason not to try and save your home, why would your rig be any different. Just use common sense and know when to run. If the tire fire begins to expand beyond the wheel well to inside the Bus, IMHO its time to back away.

  It really is amazing to see so many dragging their brakes on long grades, even semi trucks. You would think they would teach against that in school.
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« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2011, 01:08:54 PM »

Well, I guess that the theme of this board is: "do it your way".  I abide by that philosophy and even participate in it most of the time Wink

However, when it comes to safety, I really struggle with "your way" when it involves fire suppression.  I would not even begin to think about trying to fight a tire fire with 100 gallons of water (let alone 20).  This is especially true when you think about having to drag the hose out of the bay and then use a pretty poor excuse of a "fogging system" garden nozzle. 

Then we have the good old thought that you can add soap to water and fight a big fire.  I challenge anyone to present objective test data that supports that theory.  I have been in quite a few fire stations and I have yet to see the shelves stocked with Dawn bottles!!!

I was going to add to my previous post and tell the rest of the test story.  As Jack and other trained fire fighters will acknowledge, they are fascinated with fire and ways of fighting it.  At the end of my tire tests (later I learned that that violates EPA or some other type of law) Roll Eyes), I asked if it would be OK to test the Cold Fire on a magnesium fire.  Their eyes lit up.  I have a good friend who machines a lot of magnesium racing parts and he sent me a whole box of magnesium chips.  We made a pile about 12 inches in diameter and 6 inches high and set it on fire (not an easy task!).  After we got it going, we let it really cook.  Then I hit it with a 1.5 gallon extinguisher with Cold Fire.  It took the whole can, but we got it out.  Trained firefighters can attest to how difficult it is to extinguish a magnesium fire.

OK, since I have my  dander up, I will challenge anyone to put their soap concoction up against a good professional fire suppression material in fighting a magnesium fire.  I will match their money up to $50. 

Please understand, Cold Fire is not the only fire suppressing material that does a fantastic job.  It happens to be the single approved fire suppression material in the IRL pits and is one of two material approved by NHRA for their horrendous fires.  I have read the SFI regulations (17.1) many times and simply can't find that Dawn is an approved product.

I was at the NHRA race where the Cold Fire factory representative presented the material to NHRA management.  The rep and I had a long discussion and I told him he was pi**ing in the wind if he thought he could replace Halon.  I worked in the shut-down area for several years (for Gates -blower belt research) and I witnessed first hand how good the material is.  After significant testing, SFI/NHRA approved Cold Fire and Halon is almost non-existent.   Even thought I had the first hand experience with my racing involvement, I had to do my own testing per the link I posted above.

Jim

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« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2011, 01:54:58 PM »

OK, since I have my  dander up, I will challenge anyone to put their soap concoction up against a good professional fire suppression material in fighting a magnesium fire.  I will match their money up to $50. 

Jim

Come on Jim. I want to be on the Cold fire side. You can be on the Dawn side, and then we can do it. After all, I brought it up Grin Grin Grin

Just kidding...

I doubt if anybody will take you up, but if they do, you will be $50 richer.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2011, 03:49:56 PM »

 Grin
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« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2011, 09:57:40 PM »

   I was going to say a lot more, then I found this on a fire fighter forum discussing water based foam fire retardents and just decided to paste it.

     "We use dish soap. We used to put foam in, but one time someone put too much in and it gumed up the extinguisher. Was a major pain to clean out. dish soap works fine anyway, cant tell the difference
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   If a trained fire fighter/fire marshall/safety officer says they use dish soap and cant tell the difference, whats that tell you? They also use dish soap in the foam they drop from aircraft to fight forest fires. Its cheap and effective.  As for Cold Fire, it does work, but its just expensive soap.
  
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« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2011, 08:56:23 AM »

rv-safetyman, so that's why the T/F & F/C drivers are all wet after a fire.  I just started to notice that in the last couple of years.  If Cold Fire works on a Funny car fire, it ought to work on a bus.

On a side note, you must have either been the most loved or most hated guy at the end of the drag strip.  A lot of races won or lost on the blower belt. 

John M.
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John M.
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Jim Shepherd


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« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2011, 02:05:42 PM »

Well John since this thread has "slipped" a great deal (yes, pun intended), let's talk about drag racing.  Like always, I could take up a ton on bandwidth, so I decided to do a bit of documentation at:

http://beltguy.com/blowerbelt.htm

In the early years of the project (mid '80s), the racers were not happy with anything/anyone connected with blower belts.  Later, we all learned to work together and make the product work.  Still have some good friends from that project.  On that page, there is a link to a National Dragster article that details the field and lab test program.  

You mentioned the driver being wet.  This is partly the result of the fire suppression system, but also a result of the chase truck.  They will always spray the driver first to cool him down and then work or the car fire if it is still going.

I have also documented another fun project: an amazing Bonneville team that I worked with - The Phoenix LSR Diesel Truck:

http://rvsafetysystems.com/The%20Phoenix%20LSR%20Truck.htm

OK, in an attempt to get this thread back on subject, the terrible fire that occurred is a reminder that we all need to be very careful about monitoring our tires for aging and pressure and carry a ***good*** fire extinguisher with fire suppression material you are comfortable with (please do not consider a dry powder extinguisher as being much of a fire fighting tool - too small and not good suppression material for larger fires).

Jim
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 02:13:56 PM by rv_safetyman » Logged

Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/
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