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Oregon 5th-Wheel Fire Raises Safety Concerns

April 27, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Click here to watch a video, courtesy of KTVZ-TV, about the following story.

A devastating fire devoured the inside of a La Pine, Ore., family’s fifth-wheel trailer Easter morning. The flames took most all of their possessions, but thankfully, not their lives KTVZ-TV, Redmond, reported.

“A fire of this size still put a lot of soot and smoke into the trailer, and while it’s only a small space, people get very disoriented,” La Pine Assistant Fire Chief Dan Daugherty said Tuesday.

As the smoke billowed through the trailer at 4 a.m., Sunday, Lisa Choate’s 12-year-old daughter got everyone out. Fire officials said with no smoke detector, the Choate family is lucky to be alive. Officials blame faulty wiring for the blaze.

“The wiring is completely different in a trailer, compared to a residential structure,” Daugherty said. “The residential structure is designed for those larger loads, the electrical loads.”

Which means there’s certain rules for daily life when you live in a RV.

“If you’re going to watch TV great, if you’re going to run the heater great, but don’t run it all at once,” said Whispering Winds resident Ryan Powers.

William Killinger lives next to where the Choate family’s trailer burned. His biggest fear is a propane leak will destroy his home, so every night, he shuts off his propane.

“All you do is just turn it off, all the way until it closes, until it’s really tight,” Killinger said. “Then you go in and open your stove so there’s no smell coming out, then the line is empty.”

But firefighters said having propane tanks as close to a trailer as Killinger does is an obvious danger. So are frayed wires and overloaded circuits.

So as long as those hazards are around, it’s best to “at least have one smoke detector and one working fire extinguisher,” Daugherty said. “If anything else will save a life, those will.”

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