This is one of those posts that should
be predicated by "...you're not gonna believe this shi..." - but I have the pics to prove it.
Polished (but dirty) Airstream - 10:00 Sunday morning - Beautiful fall day - November 16, 2008, in a Far West Houston Suburb - not a cloud in the azure sky.
Airstream was pulled about 2000 miles since last touch-up to polish job (one month ago) - and not washed since then...the point being that this was not concours polish job - lots of road grime and rain spots.
Outside temp 60 degrees F. The trailer was hooked up to it's Tow Vehicle (3/4 ton Dodge Shortie Conversion Van). Trailer parked North/South with the front facing south - and the front 6 feet
under (northward) into a 15' high carport.
What happened - DW was cleaning and airing out vehicles (beautiful day for it) took the plastic floor mats from the Saturn Toad, laid them on the concrete in front of the trailer, and went to Wally World with a friend....
...a combination of reflections from the trailer focused a beam about 6" long and 1" wide strong enough to heat the floor mat to it's bubble point, and the mat was smoking all along the 6" beam of light...I strongly suspect it would have caught fire had I not saw the smoke rising from the floor mat.
I came around the corner the work on the interior of the trailer maybe a short half hour later....and saw smoke...the mat was just below the rear door mounted spare tire for the Dodge Van.
I moved the plastic floor mat from the reflection area while it was still smoking - but I wanted to get a few pics to document what happened.
The sun was being reflected from at least three areas - I followed the reflection up with my hand to:
- An area which appears to have a slight concave shape to it - just under the curb side of the front window.
- An area just below the collar on the curb side propane tank.
- The access door to where the battery was originally mounted on the curb side front of the trailer.
There may have been another area which was adding to the focused heat, but I only had "shadows" to follow with the reflection on my hand, so I am unable to verify other reflective sources.
The mat was on the concrete, about 3' South of the front of the trailer, and about 2' West of the centerline.
Glad it wasn't more serious - just wanted to give a heads up on a potential fire hazard.
Here's a pic of the driveway, the trailer, and the carport. Imagine the traler being moved back about 40' and that is where the could-have-been-catastrophy occured.
The primary reflective area can be seen in the picture above - between the rock guard and the battery access door, just to the curb side of the original Univolt vent in the center of the trailer. It appears (in the picture) to have a sort of a white area bordered by two red lines.