RV Fire & Propane Explosion Lawsuit
Rarely does a day pass by that there is not a RV fire or propane tank explosion somewhere in the United States. Many RV fires are associated with fires start from overheated appliances, faulty wiring and overloaded circuits. In a RV, trailer or mobile home any fire can be are particularly dangerous when mixing overloaded wiring and shorts with a propane leak from a propane line, an appliance or at the propane tank or regulators.
In many RV and mobile home fires, the flames and damage can be contained and extinguished, but other times the fire and fuel source is too intense and can result. This is real danger in a runaway RV propane explosion. When a fire occurs inside a RV while it is occupied, the incident can quickly turn from being a property damage loss to serious injuries involving burns, smoke inhalation and even death. The split decisions of the RVer to correctly recognize the potential danger at hand and safely escape from the dangerous condition can be the difference in life and death to that RVer or an entire family.
RV Fires & Explosions – Common Causes
While many RV fires are caused by the carelessness the RVer such as unattended candles, open flames, lanterns, items on stove tops, many other RV fires can happen due to no RV neglect especially when the fire is due to faulty or under-gauged wiring, overloaded electrical circuits, defective refrigerators and AC/ heating systems.
While every fire in a RV is serious and can be life threatening, fires that are associated with a propane gas mixture can be instantaneous causing flash fires inside the RV and others such fires can result in a catastrophic RV propane explosion and fire. When this occurs the chances for anyone left inside the RV diminish the longer they remain in the RV and the further they are located inside the RV away from the door exit to safely escape. In a RV fire, exiting out a RV window is often difficult and in many cases impossible due to small size of the opening or the nature of the window without any opening device, hinge or window track slide. Propane fires and explosions are usually the result of a slow leak of propane inside the RV where the gas is heavier than air and tends to pool or puddle in a storage spaces, cabinets, pullouts, slideouts, in the walls or floors. When leaking propane has accumulated in these spaces, all it needs is a micro spark or ignition to create a exploding ball of fire and bomb. Even in spite of the known dangers of RV fires and explosions, many manufacturers are still negligent in the RV designs and construction of these RV.
Some of the causes of the propane fires and explosions in RVs include:
- RV Propane leaks from threads or regulators of propane tanks
- Pinhole leaks in the rubber propane gas transmission hoses throughout the RV
- Cheaply constructed rubber propane lines cracking or weakening form excessive heat
- RV propane lines unguarded or unshielded from road debris
- Leaks from a defective propane tank valve
- Lack of flame supervision device (FSD) or flame failure device (FFD) on all gas or propane devices
- Poorly manufactured (cheaply made) RV propane appliances
- Propane line leaks at connections and splitters in walls and underneath RV
- Leaks created at pinch points in rubber propane lines
- Negligent design and placement of propane and electrical lines together
- Defective or inoperable fire and gas leak detector
- Negligent placement of propane gas leak detectors
- Negligent design of placing propane hoses near tires, exhaust lines or muffler pipe
- Propane not containing sufficient percentage of odorant to be useful to warn
RV Motorhome Fire Kills Elderly Couple
One of our saddest RV fire cases our law firm has ever been involved with concerned the death of an elderly couple in a RV fire while in their 2004 Newmar Dutchstar Motorhome. The couple were driving along in their motor home when suddenly an apparent RV tire tread separation failure or blowout the right front tire caused a piece of the tread or steel belt to strike and rupture a propane line near the tire. A spark from the steel belt hitting the motorhome frame ignited the propane gas and a massive fuel fed fire erupted blocking the front door exit.
The driver was able to get the RV off the road, but unable to escape the inferno. The surviving family contacted the Willis Law Firm to represent them against all entities. After an extensive investigation a products liability lawsuit was filed against the RV manufacturer, the frame and chassis manufacturer and the tire company. In this RV fire death lawsuit it was alleged that the defendants were negligent in failing to place the propane lines in protected areas away from propane lines, negligent in leaving the propane lines unshielded away from electrical lines and negligent in the design of a RV / motor home without a secondary emergency escape exit in case of a fire or water evaluation. This RV fire death lawsuit was settled out of court for a confidential amount.