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Old 12-02-2006, 06:10 PM   #1
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1973 25' Tradewind
New Bloomfield , Missouri
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We Lost our Airstream so be Careful with yours

Lost our 1979 Airstream this past Thursday to a fire at 4:30 pm. It was parked next to our house and Fire Chief said it must have been an electical short. It was plugged up to the house electricity. Hate to even think what might have happened if the fire had started in the middle of the night. We are really fortunate and blessed that it occurred when it did.

We just had returned from a 1200 mile trip to SW Kansas on Nov18 where we stayed in the Meade Lake State Park for three nights. Sure did have a good time and are heart broken that our "retreat on Wheels" is gone.

Passerbys saw the blaze and knocked on our house door so we caught the fire early and called 911. The interior is ruined by smoke and fire but the fire never broke through any of the vents or Air conditioner. The trailer was closed up tight and the lack of air actually prevented the fire from becoming totally out of control. We used a fire extinguisher to knock down the blaze before the Fire Truck arrived. Also hooked to it and towed it away from the house before the Fire Truck arrived.

I know one thing for sure now. I will never keep my next trailer plugged in all the time when I'm not using it.

Yep - we are going to get another trailer and it will be an Airstream.

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Old 12-02-2006, 06:17 PM   #2
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We are really sorry to hear of your Airstream loss. We are also glad that no one was hurt. Airstreams can be replaced, people can't. Glad to hear that you will continue Airstreaming.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
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2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2011 Silverado 3500 (Fred) with Outfitter Truck Camper (Ethel)
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Old 12-02-2006, 06:18 PM   #3
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West of Fort Worth , Texas
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I'm sorry for the loss of your A/S, this is just a bummer! You were thinking more calmly than most to have the presence of mind to get it away from your house. Great job! All too often we see people just freeze and take no action under these stressful circumstances. I applaud you.
Good luck in your search for a new trailer, I sorry you have to go thru this.
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Old 12-02-2006, 06:18 PM   #4
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1971 31' Sovereign
SANTA BARBARA , California
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WOW, I am sorry to hear about your trailer! Your advice is well taken, I too have left mine for days on end plugged in and always worried in the back of my mind that it could catch on fire. I am glad to hear that your home was ok, so scary!
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Old 12-02-2006, 06:30 PM   #5
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2006 19' Safari
Suisun City , California
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Thanks for the Tip

Really sorry about your loss. I know how excited we were when we first parked our AS in the driveway, hooked up the electric power cord and began showing the neighbors our new toy. I appreciate your willingness to get a painful lesson learned out to all us in the Forum.

May the new year bring you nothing but good stuff and a "replacement" AS!

Bless you and your family - glad all were safe!


Jerry and Avis
2006 Safari Bambi 19'
2005 Toyota Tacoma PU

"Mi Casa Es Su Casa!"
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Old 12-02-2006, 07:37 PM   #6
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1992 30' Airstream 30
Santa Rosa , Northern California wine country
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Will they be able to trace the origin of the fire or short? If they can and it's a manufacturimng defect, it may be possible to have it replaced??? Time to call CSI!
1992 Airstream 300LE, rear queen, Banks Power!
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Old 12-02-2006, 11:01 PM   #7
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1963 19' Globetrotter
Laguna Beach , California
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Would it help if the outlet had one of those safety thingy's like in bathrooms???
Officer says ..."Step AWAY from the toaster Ma'am"
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Old 12-02-2006, 11:15 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Babeebloos
Would it help if the outlet had one of those safety thingy's like in bathrooms???
You're probably talking about a GFCI. Without knowing where the fire started, there is no telling. From the original post, my impression is that the "Chief" was guessing at the cause or wasn't too sure. That happens, we can't always pin down the exact cause. One of my job duties is fire investigation, and I can tell you that a lot of fires get blamed on electrical causes, which in fact have some other cause. On the other hand, it could be electrical in nature - what are the potential heat sources in the trailer? Electrical on, propane off I assume? No recent use of stains, etc which may have ignited such as in rags? You have to look at the total picture, define the area of origin, and look at the potential heat sources in that area.
OK, enough Fire investigation 101.

Many times the insurance company will send their own fire investigator. If they do, I'd be interested in his/her findings.
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Old 12-02-2006, 11:47 PM   #9
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Placerville , California
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How heartbreaking of a loss. However, the next Airstream for you will be even better. You know that. I wouldn't be afraid to keep the next one plugged in because of this traggedy. I am sure an investigation will show what extra pre-cautions will need to be in the future. I maybe would not park next to the house if possible.
Neil and Lynn Holman
FreshAir #12407

Kirk Creek, Big Sur, Ca. coast.

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Old 12-03-2006, 06:12 AM   #10
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1960 24' Tradewind
Anytown , Connecticut
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Dear MTJIM- What a terrible loss. Becuase of your quick thinking and staying calm you probably saved your house. Timing is everything and if there is any positive behind such an event, the losses could have been worse and no one was hurt! I would definatly try to find the exact source of the fire. I am sure it is not because your were plugged into shore power as the root cause for the fire. This horrible event most likely could have occured while at a campground at 1:30 AM if that were the root cause! When you are camping you most often are plugged into shorepower! We have our AS plugged in all summer long, charging batteries, running ref. etc. We go out with it almost every weekend, so we want to be ever-ready. Many folks up here in New England leave theirs plugged in to run electric heaters. I do hope you are able to find the cause for peace of mind if nothing else. Look forward to see your AS!
J. Rick Cipot
Sandi Gould
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Airstream Life Magazine
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Old 12-03-2006, 07:01 AM   #11
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madison , Wisconsin
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sorry to hear of your loss.

this brings up another issue i learned from a long time airstreamer. don't pad lock your trailer hitch when towing.

if the trailer is on fire and you need to uncouple it to save your tow vehicle you won't be fumbling for the keys or trying to remember the combination!

take it for what it is worth!

you call them ferrets, i call them weasels.
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Old 12-03-2006, 07:08 AM   #12
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Milwaukee , Wisconsin
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I can only imagine what a horrible sight that must have been for you to look out and see your trailer on fire. I feel for you and wish you the best in your search for a new Airstream.
Chaplain Kent
1994 30' Excella 1000, Chummy III- Ford Excursion- 7.3 Turbo-diesel
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Old 12-03-2006, 07:16 AM   #13
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College Town USA , Virginia
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Condolences on your loss. We're happy to hear you're well along with your home. Now you can look forward to the purchase of a new baby. We have ours plugged in and backed up to the garage in preparation for a trip tomorrow for mods and upgrades at our favorite Airstream shop Texas. I think I'll unplug as a safety precaution as the batteries are fully charged and theres no need to leave it plugged in. Anything freaky can happen, I suppose, no matter what the age of the Airstream. Try to have fun with the selection of your replacement Airstream. Thanks for sharing this difficult story with us all and here's hoping that you have better luck with your new Airstream. Happy Trails
In dog years, I'm dead!
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Old 12-03-2006, 07:19 AM   #14
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The State of , Ohio
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I'm very sorry for your loss. Yes, you were blessed it wasn't at night, but you were doubly blessed it wasn't when you were aboard, asleep. From what I've read, RV and boat electrical fires are usually from the battery-powered system.

Our Airstream has been plugged in 24x7 for the 4+ years we've owned it (3-stage charger/converter now) and it certainly will be if we full-time in it. If you can't trust it to do that, I don't think I'd sleep very well in it.

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