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RandyA

Trailer Fire - need some help please.

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Our trailer was totally destroyed by fire on 2/22.  We are in Melbourne, FL so 800 miles from our brick and mortar home.  The fire originated in the golf cart which was parked near the trailer.  The GC had two Li-ion batteries, was not being charged and the battery switch was off.  More on this later.

We have bought another trailer.  It is a 40+ foot 2006 Keystone Cambridge weighing at the full allowed load of 19,000 lbs.  It is like new and beautifully built.

My problem and where I need help is the hitch on my trailer is not an airbag hitch and the airbag pin box from our burned out unit would not fit the Cambridge.  I would like to be able to buy a new hitch but I bought the Cambridge for cash and have spent a pile of additional cash on necessities.  Everything in the trailer was destroyed - all clothes, meds, electronics, etc.

David M (Toyhauler) in Overland Park Kansas, near Kansas City, has offered to give me a Trailersaver hitch without the head.  But, getting it to us is a problem.  We will be going to the ECR in April.  If there is some kind soul on this thread that could pick-up the hitch and bring it to the ECR it would make us eternally grateful.  Dave is willing to load the hitch into his pickup and meet anyone coming along any of the Interstates nearby for a transfer.

If I can get the hitch, I will also be interested in purchasing a Binkley head if anyone has one they want to sell.

Please PM me or call 804 three-five-seven-nine-five-seven-two if someone might be of assistance.

I will edit and attach a few photos of the aftermath of the fire soon.  We are more than lucky to get out alive.  More on that later as well.

Randy & Nancy

 

pic7.JPG

Edited by RandyA
added photo

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Randy,

Sorry to hear of your fire but glad you are okay.  Speaking to Charlie the outcome could have been worse.  I know Roger (Hewhoknowslittle) lives in KS (Wichita?) and is coming, maybe he will respond or you can contact him.  I know of one other person in KS now and is coming to the rally.  I cannot give out their name or info but I will try to contact for you and see if they can help.  These folks are sometimes difficult to contact so no guarantees.  BTW I assume you will be able to get your trailer from Florida to Crossville with your current hitch?

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Thank you, Carl

Thank you, Phil (PM)

Carl - if all goes well with the present hitch when we leave here on the 19th we will be in Crossville.  This is something I know will need to be done before too many more miles.  The present hitch is strong enough but the pin box part is a More-Ryde shear spring.  No air bags so don't know how it will take the bumps.  If anything changes with us getting to the ECR I will let you know ASAP. 

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Super glad to hear you are ok.  Last week, I removed the Binkley head from my Trailer Saver that was bent in my wreck.  I am certain the hitch is good.  It is yours.  I will bring it to the ECR but will have to leave before you get there (19th ??).  We have to be in Richmond for the NASCAR races and DW's concert.  I will send pictures tomorrow.  It is complete except the bozo wrecker guy put a pipe on the release handle and sheared the shoulder bolt trying to release the trailer.  I have plenty of time to get that repaired.  I will send pictures of what I have tomorrow. 

Chet

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Never easy, there will be lots of us there to hold it until Randy gets there. I might have a shoulder bolt here and will check tomorrow. If Roger doesn't pipe up on this thread, I will call him also to see if he can pick it ip.

Randy, hate to hear that it happened to you but at least both of you are safe. Material things can be bought, lives are precious.

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Randy,

Sorry to hear about the fire  If you need a hitch to get you to ECR or the deal on the trailsaver doesn't work out, I am having Henry build me an ET JR that should be done in a couple of weeks and you could use our old "Myairhitch" hitch to get you there. When I take it off, the only thing I want to make sure is ok, is the center side to side pivot bolt to make sure it is still holding up. We replaced it a few years ago as the original was showing some wear. I will check with Henry and see how he is coming on the hitch. I hoped to bring our truck down to his place in FL to put the new hitch on there and can bring our hitch with us.

Dave

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RandyA, What else will you need?  Are you going to install it in Crossville?  I will be in Richmond until the morning of Sunday, 22 April.  If you will be returning home before that, I can pick tools up from you before I go back to VB. 

Tools and materials required:  Mag Drill, drill bit(s), centering marker, center punch, hammer,  bolts w/locking nuts (will have to look at size and number), torque wrench,  pivot pin nut socket

Folks on here can brainstorm that list for additions.  I will bring all that is on this list.   

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Just now, Hewhoknowslittle said:

Randy

so sad to here about the fire, and Phil sent you my contact info so unless something bad happens the hitch will be at the ECR. 

Roger

Roger,

Please don’t take offense that several of us “volunteered “ you.  It’s gonna pain me to say this to all other folks on the forum but Roger is one fine dude who has gone out of his way on multiple occasions to help fellow HDTers and he needs to be recognized for it.

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13 minutes ago, SuiteSuccess said:

Roger,

Please don’t take offense that several of us “volunteered “ you.  It’s gonna pain me to say this to all other folks on the forum but Roger is one fine dude who has gone out of his way on multiple occasions to help fellow HDTers and he needs to be recognized for it.

Are you talking about me??

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Randy so sad to hear this news but glad you both got out safe!!!!!!! I just went thru Kansas and would have wish I could have helped but I might have passed thru before all this happened. Good luck on your new trailer and I guess I will not have to keep your spot open at FROG anymore. Now I will have a even better reason to start attending the ECR or maybe crash a Cedar Creek Club rally to see you.

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Roger, Chet, Star, Carl, Phil and EVERYONE I may have neglected to call by name.

Thank you many times over and over.  I humbly accept offers from David M., Chet and Roger for parts and transportation of parts.

We leave Melbourne on the 19th.  We expect to be in Richmond the afternoon of the 21st.  We are due to arrive at the ECR I believe on the 12th of April.  I do not want to attempt changing hitches at the ECR as I will need to rework a significant part of the back of the Volvo to accept a 1/2" steel plate to mount the Trailersaver.  I do not anticipate safety issues with the non-airbag hitch on the truck in the interim but know that over the long run I will have to replace the truck hitch.

The past week and a half has been a real eye-opener.  Even after 30+ years in Fire-EMS and seeing hundreds of house and trailer fires experiencing one is entirely different.  Working fire/smoke and CO2 alarms melted before they could go off.  A brand new Kiddie replacement fire extinguisher in the bedroom did not work. Once the fire got inside the trailer all oxygen was immediately consumed leaving the air full of caustic smoke from the burning plastics.  The air temperature rose to levels exceeding the highest oven heating setting leaving overhead plastics from the AC, vent fans, lights, etc. hanging like stlagtites in a cave.  Absolutely nothing inside was salvageable other than pots and pans, kitchen utensils and ironically a few items stored under the lift-up bed frame.  We did salvage a lot of exterior hardware like the satelite dish and items in the basement cargo area not damaged by water.  An escape route from a fire that blocks the stairs from the bedroom to the exit on a fifth wheel is minimal.  There is only one escape window in the bedroom and it is pretty high off the ground.  If one has any joint issues or a waist line larger than Twiggy getting out the window in time could be a life or death issue - that is if you even wake up in time.  A fire in a RV does not burn like a house - it litterally explodes like a bomb.  You only have seconds to get out.  Everyone needs an escape plan and to even take the time to practice.  We were not properly prepared and it is only through the grace of God that we escaped.  He obviously still has plans for at least one of us on this planet.

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So sorry to hear this. When you are able, can you explain what happened in detail and also how insurance is working out. 

Thanks,

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Sorry to hear of this Randy. We hope your all ok and are able to get your hitch sorted at Ecr. All the best. 

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OK, Randy, got it.  Either way, I have to take the hitch head with me as we will not be returning to VB before going to Richmond.  If you don't have room for it, I can drop it off at your place in Richmond.  We have been wanting to drop in on you anyway! 

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I have an excess Trailer Saner (non airbag) complete with mounting plate which I would be glad to bring to Crossville if needed. As far as I know there is nothing worn excessively or other problems. I just replaced it with an ET Jr.

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Randy   So glad that the both of you are OK! What a experience! The Lord was looking out for the 2 of you. Glad that you now have a new rig. We had a little issue with the Trailer Saver Hitch but all of the issue was my lack of PMS. Chet was kind enough to help me get it degreased! Works good now. We will be going to the ECR and hopefully with Chet if our schedules will let us. I'm not sure when he plans on leaving but we made reservations to get in on Thursday.  When do you plan on leaving? So happy that you'll got through that fire without being hurt. God Bless    Pat

 

 

The Old Sailor

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5 hours ago, wtgeodog said:

I have an excess Trailer Saner (non airbag) complete with mounting plate which I would be glad to bring to Crossville if needed. As far as I know there is nothing worn excessively or other problems. I just replaced it with an ET Jr.

I think I need to have the air bags.  My current hitch does not have them.  If the mounting plate is surplus to your needs I would be glad to take it off your hands.  I am willing to pay for it - not asking for freebies.  Many, many thanks!

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7 hours ago, NeverEasy said:

OK, Randy, got it.  Either way, I have to take the hitch head with me as we will not be returning. to VB before going to Richmond.  If you don't have room for it, I can drop it off at your place in Richmond.  We have been wanting to drop in on you anyway! 

 

Having you drop in would be a pleasure.  But, I can't promise how organized my shop or mind will be.  My cell number is in my first post.  Perhaps we can do a lunch or dinner out somewhere - our treat, of course.  Our rig will be in the lower driveway and shelter.  The upper driveway can be accessed by one of our rigs so parking is OK.

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9 hours ago, lockmup68 said:

So sorry to hear this. When you are able, can you explain what happened in detail and also how insurance is working out. 

Thanks,

Detail?  No - all I can provide is conjecture based on some knowledge I have and research.

My golf cart was powered by two 48 volt Li-Ion batteries bought on eBay.  They were single units, not a full pack, from a wrecked 2013 Chevy Volt.

The golf cart was parked under the front pin box area to keep it free of the heavy wet dew we have been having.

The GC was not on a charger and the battery switch was turned off.  I had charged it to 48.8 volts the previous day with a charger I had built that had both current and voltage limiting circuitry.  It's peak DC output was 50 volts as controlled by an auto transformer, charging current was limited to 15 amps.  There was also a timer that limited the charging time to a preset period.  The temperature cut off circuit was built but not installed.  I had previously charged the batteries many times and know the circuitry in the charger was rock solid and accurate.   I also know my wiring was overkill and done to a level of perfection.  I had driven the cart at about 6:30 pm and all seemed fine.

Yet, the cart caught fire around 3:30 a.m.  Fire may not be the best word as it apparently exploded.

Knowing what and how everything was done and it was right I am inclined to believe there was a defect lurking within one of the batteries.  They were from a wrecked car, meaning they were exposed to extreme shock.  I just never stopped to think about that aspect.  The problem is these batteries can overheat and catch fire or explode if there is an internal rupture between opposing polarity cells.  The separation is paper thin.  A small pinhole can go for months before a charging cycle, discharge or another shock causes a full rupture.  If that happens everything goes boom.

Please keep in mind I do not know this to be factual - it is my conjecture as to how the battery or batteries overheated and exploded.  There could have been other causes.

What is of the greatest significance to come out of this entire ordeal is how fast a fire can consume one of our fiver's.  It is literally seconds, not minutes before all breathable oxygen is gone and the atmosphere is filled with toxic and extremely corrosive material from burning plastics.  I now know a smoke alarm and fire extinguisher will be of little value unless you are awake and looking at the start of the fire. I repeat, due to the size of our trailers and the typical arrangement of a single escape window from the bedroom if the staircase and exit is blocked by fire requires a doable and practiced plan.  A fire can start most anywhere from anything -from dryer lint, a faulty refrigerator, electrical appliances, propane stoves - you name it.  If we are in bed asleep safe escape without injury may not be possible.  It is enough to scare the bee-gees out of you!

 

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