Cause traced to owner's efforts to thaw frozen sewer hose
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A 31-foot travel trailer caught fire Saturday afternoon at the Crown Villa RV Resort in southeast Bend, a blaze that investigators traced to the use of two heaters to thaw a sewer hose that had frozen overnight.
Bend Fire & Rescue crews were dispatched around 2:40 p.m. to the reported fire at the RV park on Brosterhous Road, Deputy Fire Marshal Cindy Kettering said.
The arrived to find the 2018 Weekend Warrior RV ablaze, and though they were able to quickly suppress it, the RV and contents were about 75% lost, with an estimated value of the trailer of $35,000 and contents valued at $15,000.
The trailer owners, visiting from Texas, were not on the property when the fire broke out, Kettering said. No injuries were reported.
An investigation determined the RV’s sewer hose had frozen in the very cold overnight conditions, and the owner placed both an electric space heater and a small, propane-fueled radiant tank-top heater beneath the trailer to thaw it.
The propane heater was placed next to the plastic sewer hose and fittings, which melted and ignited, Kettering said. The fire then spread upwards from beneath the RV into the bathroom area.
"Space heaters are a leading cause of residential fires, and one of the most dangerous things you can do with a space heater is to place it next to anything that can burn," Kettering wrote in a news release. "Anything that produces heat needs space around it - this includes fireplaces, woodstoves, baseboards, and space heaters.
"Bend Fire & Rescue recommends keeping three feet of space between combustibles and any heat source, and to never leave heaters operating unattended," the fire official added.
For more information on home heating safety, visit https://www.bendoregon.gov/government/departments/fire-rescue/safety-tips-emergency-preparedness/fall-winter-safety-tips.