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Author Topic: Where is a fire most likely if one were to have one?  (Read 1533 times)
happycamperbrat
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« on: July 26, 2012, 01:22:11 AM »

Ive seen posts on engine fires, tire fires and even battery equalizers. Since I get to take as long as I want to build my bus I am always rethinking the layout and stuff. My latest thoughts on it are to put the water storage tank right over the area that would be the most likely to catch fire......
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The Little GTO is a 102" wide and 40' long 1983 GMC RTS II and my name is Teresa in case I forgot to sign my post
bevans6
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2012, 04:48:22 AM »

Traditionally the propane refrigerator or stove, water heater is the most likely to catch fire, 'fridge in particular (open-ish flame, un-monitored, often poor install and no maintenance, and recalled equipment).  Second would be faulty 120 vac wiring, then batteries, then high current 12 or 24 vdc wiring.  After that I think it's actually lightning strikes...   Shocked

Brian
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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2012, 05:00:05 AM »

Brakes overheating that start the tire on fire are somewhat common.  I doubt you could place your water tank in such a way as to smother a brake fire on more than one wheel.  Most fires are going to be above the level of your water tank, especially if you have a fridge fire or other propane issue.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
muldoonman
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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2012, 05:29:05 AM »

Last weekend, mine was toasted inverter and fuses. Well not actually a fire but smoked cabin up and burned out DC meter in coach panel. Smelled smoke and hot wiring,. Opened control panel door to look in there and light smoke drifted out. Had me running for the exit!
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JackConrad
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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2012, 05:59:52 AM »

If fridge is a prime source, it might be difficult to mount your water tank above the source.  I would concentrate on proper installations (proper wiring and fuses, LP installed using proper materials, etc.) and proper maintainence (keeping brakes adjusted, tires properly inflated, engine compartment clean).  Jack
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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2012, 06:06:44 AM »

Just about all the buses I look at that have fire damage 98% of the time it is caused from brakes, a tire on the passeners side at the rear or the engine compartment and a few with a dash fire.  

I saw one not long ago the Webasto system started the fire you don't see that often but it happens
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muldoonman
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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2012, 06:10:32 AM »

Just make sure you insure your bus! At least it would take some of the sting out of a fire!
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happycamperbrat
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« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2012, 06:16:32 AM »

hmm, my bus has really limited underfloor storage....... it's the price I pay for having such a cool looking bus  Wink  Grin The plans for underfloor are pretty well filled up, so the fresh water tank I think will pretty much have to go above floor....... although trying to get it above the refer may be a bit too much challenge for me to even contemplate lol Above the propane tank would be dooable, so would one tire or set of tires, or the engine, or the batteries.....

Thanks for the brain storming guys!!
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The Little GTO is a 102" wide and 40' long 1983 GMC RTS II and my name is Teresa in case I forgot to sign my post
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« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2012, 06:52:07 AM »

In GMC 4905s (maybe others) if the muffler goes bad, the floor can catch on fire.  Happened to me.  Good thing too!  Got a better bus!
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Glenn Williams
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lostagain
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« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2012, 07:00:24 AM »

I think maintaining the bus properly, keeping the engine compartment clean, as well as all appliances and systems in good order is our best preventive defence.

Also keeping fire extinguishers in strategic places is important: one in the rear pass. side baggage bay, one in the front stair well, and one in the bathroom that is accessible from the kitchen and the bedroom.

JC 
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JC
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« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2012, 07:09:15 AM »

On my truck, I'll have a fire extinguisher system in both the engine compartment and in the generator compartment.  My refer is a Novakool that is a compressor type-no propane.  My water heaters are all electric. I will have tire pressure monitoring system (like PressurePro)-with a hot brake, the tires will increase dramatically in pressure-which the PressurePro will detect.  Will have a fire extinguisher system in my garage for the on board car.  All 12v and 120vac systems will have fuses or circuit breakers.  The only propane powered appliances are the stove and furnace-and will have a gas detector with propane solenoid cutoff.  On that propane solenoid, will have a switch in the kitchen to keep the propane off except when needed.

My point-the best way to fight a fire is to do as much prevention and sound construction methods to minimize the possibility of fire.  Catching a fire when it is small is the most important way to prevent your bus from being completely engulfed in fire.  Many fire extinguishers are good-but having automatic systems are good too. Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2012, 07:12:04 AM »

A common location in a transit bus for the water tank is under the bed in the rear.  If you do have an engine fire, by the time the fire burns through the floor and melts the tank to release the water the bus is going to be totaled at that point most likely.

I'm not sure if you are trying to save human lives or the bus here.  Hopefully, your smoke alarm will have gone off long before your water tank would melt from a fire.  By the time a fire is large enough to melt your water tank the fire is likely going to be pretty big.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2012, 07:15:13 AM »

On my truck, I'll have a fire extinguisher system in both the engine compartment and in the generator compartment.  My refer is a Novakool that is a compressor type-no propane.  My water heaters are all electric. I will have tire pressure monitoring system (like PressurePro)-with a hot brake, the tires will increase dramatically in pressure-which the PressurePro will detect.  Will have a fire extinguisher system in my garage for the on board car.  All 12v and 120vac systems will have fuses or circuit breakers.  The only propane powered appliances are the stove and furnace-and will have a gas detector with propane solenoid cutoff.  On that propane solenoid, will have a switch in the kitchen to keep the propane off except when needed.

My point-the best way to fight a fire is to do as much prevention and sound construction methods to minimize the possibility of fire.  Catching a fire when it is small is the most important way to prevent your bus from being completely engulfed in fire.  Many fire extinguishers are good-but having automatic systems are good too. Good Luck, TomC

     Thanks for that list, Tom.  I've been doing a lot of this as I've gone along but it's been piecemeal.  I'm going to sit down and make a complete list of things to arrange, then I'm going to make sure that everything is as safe it can practically be.
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Bruce H; Wallace (near Wilmington) NC
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rv_safetyman
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« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2012, 07:49:10 AM »

Over the years, I have researched and written several articles about bus/motorhome fires.  That was all part of understanding the need for the fire detection system I developed.

The quotes below are from a couple of my articles.  The first gives links for studies of bus fires in Finland


Quote
Two excellent case studies exist which detail causes of bus fires.  They are titled “Bus Fires in Finland during 2000” (and 2001).  They can be found on the internet at the following locations:

2000 study:  www.onnettomuustutkinta.fi/uploads/6hdieo2.pdf
2001 study:  www.onnettomuustutkinta.fi/uploads/gvty79bpq89a.pdf


The quote below is my attempt to post a table that was in one of the articles.  It summarized my review of a huge database I purchased from the Oregon Fire Marshall office.  It is too bad that they did not separate out engine and tire fires.


Quote
Year 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 Total
All Reported Recreational Vehicle Fires 183 202 181 197 200 963
Fires Involving Motorhomes Only 108 115 90 95 107 515
Fires In "Engine/Wheel area" 53 50 37 33 41 214


In recent years, RV fridge fires have been a very significant problem.  There have been several recalls and many fires. 

Engine and or generator fires would likely involve a flammable fluid (diesel, oil, PS fluid, transmission fluid, etc) and applying a fairly limited amount of water would likely make the fire worse.  Guaranteed, you can't carry enough plain water to put out a tire fire.

Dry powder fire extinguishers are pretty limited in their capability.

Jim
« Last Edit: July 26, 2012, 08:56:33 AM by rv_safetyman » Logged

Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
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akroyaleagle
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« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2012, 08:47:58 PM »

My experience is right in line with Luvrbus.

The majority of them are caused by hung brakes at the right rear. No real idea why it seems to always be there. Jim Shepherd probably does.

Electrical (DC) fires seem to also be a big problem. Make sure when you wire your coach batteries and your house batteries that you install adequate shut offs. I'm probably paranoid, but I have cut offs on the positive and the negative sides. When I used to leave my coach parked in storage while flying home for Xmas or something, I just felt better knowing it was dead in the water. Just my way. I've seen several buses and a few coachs with run away DC fires and no way to stop them.

It goes without saying that leaking fuel or lubricants that enter the engine compartment is dangerous. Virtually everything has its flash point.

Several coach fires I have seen were the result of top mounted turbos being to close to the bedroom floor.

Get some exhaust wrap that is in all the hotrod books and wrap all the hot stuff. It's good for the engine. It keeps folks from getting burned accidently and looks much neater!
« Last Edit: July 26, 2012, 08:50:15 PM by akroyaleagle » Logged

Joe Laird
'78 Eagle
Huron, South Dakota
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« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2012, 09:09:07 PM »

As noted...

Once there's a fire, you've already blown it.

Fire prevention lies squarely in keeping up preventive maintenance and proper electrical design of additional systems.

Who hasn't torn down the wheel ends lately for inspection, cleaning and fresh lube? Greased the S cam tubes?

Cleaned the flues on the propane appliances?

How old are the external fuel lines on that Detroit?

When were the big electrical cables ruthlessly inspected, absolutely every inch? That old stock heavy cable from batteries to starter, lurking, tucked into the engine frame rail on your older MCI.... rubbing against??

Every circuit protected? Including the big cables? What hot bus bar is the stereo wired into with no fuse?

Nobody can carry enough extinguisher or water to put out a tire fire,
and many engine fires are beyond control into the other materials by the time you can get into a position to bring all of your arsenal into play.

Those who define prevention by maintenance and good design are the ones who sleep soundly.

And one lung full of good coach burning smoke... you might not be here to tell us about it.

Install smoke and CO detectors for lives.

When they alarm, get out.

Purchase insurance for the property.

happy coaching!
buswarrior



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luvrbus
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« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2012, 10:08:49 PM »

I think your chances of saving your bus are a lot better in a bus with metal siding  

I have saw the H Prevost and the new MCI J and E on fire, once they get going they burn to the ground it's almost impossiable to stop when the siding starts to burn fire depts just watch because of the toxic smoke produced by fiberglass.

We loose tour buses in valley here quite often I think the 115 degree heat helps with the burning not for sure but it seems like not as many lost in the winter months 

There was a 45 ft Monco burn down a couple of weeks ago that started from a tire it was gone in 8 mins the fire dept told me 

The owner suffered some 3rd degree burns he was trying to ext the fire with a cheap ext that came with the coach and the tire blew out covering him with hot burning rubber it started a huge fire on a piece of vacant land also.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2012, 10:27:28 PM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2012, 01:03:29 AM »

Dang! Thanks for all the warnings and horror stories..... wow!
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« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2012, 06:31:32 AM »

The Dometic and Norcold RV Refrigerators are a BIG source for RV fires.  I know this first hand as this past September my neighbor woke me at 2:30AM on a Saturday and said Mr Barnett your Bus is on fire.  By the time I got some clothes on and got out the back door of our home the local fire dept was waiting on me and the fire was exiting the roof of the bus above the fridge.  The heat from the plastic burning in the fridge was so hot it burnt a hole in the roof of the bus about 3 feet in diameter.  If this had been a SS coach it would have burnt to the ground with all of the fiberglass in those units.  With a bus and all of the metal the fire dept was able to save the coach where it was still drivable but thanks to National Interstate Insurance Company they totaled it due to the structural damage, water and smoke damage.  Check out the www.copart.com web site and look at all of the RV's they have on there and most are from fires.  (It only took the fire dept 2 minuets to be on the scene after they received the call)
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happycamperbrat
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« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2012, 11:39:56 AM »

I know there are some kind of fires that water doesnt help...... but maybe it would be wise to hook up a sprinkler system in the roof, that is supplied by the fresh water system? The one in the roof would just be part of the fresh water loop? And maybe even run some lines to the bays and the engine compartment (maybe as part of a misting system)
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