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Butte CAL FIRE shares fire safety tips for RV/5th wheel dwellers

A 5th wheel fire in Paradise Saturday morning inspired this list of things you and your family can do to be safer in an RV or 5th wheel during a fire.

Posted: Jan 2, 2021 1:02 PM
Updated: Apr 5, 2021 12:18 PM

PARADISE, Calif. - Trailers and 5th wheels are dangerous places to be during fires.

These photographs show a 5th wheel that burned in Paradise early Saturday morning on the 1400 block of Carroll Lane near Libby Road. The fire was reported to the CAL FIRE Butte Unit right before 7:00 a.m.

The cause of this fire is still under investigation, so according to the CAL FIRE Butte Unit, authorities do not know yet exactly what happened. They did tell Action News Now that the reporting party told them no one was in the trailer when the report was made to 9-1-1.

CAL FIRE Public Information Officer Rick Carhart shared some safety advice to people who are living in trailers and 5th wheels. He said once these kinds of units catch fire, it is very difficult to save them from total destruction.

Carhart shared the following advice?

  • Know every way out of the trailer. There may be window that could be broken out or crawlspaces under a bed that can be utilized if the only doorway is blocked by fire.
  • Practice escaping from fire. Have your entire family participate so everyone has rehearsed how to get away from danger safetly.
  • If you smoke, make sure you don't leave a burning cigarette unattended and dispose of it properly. Consider smoking outside of the trailer instead of inside.
  • Do not leave a candle burning unattended. Trailers can rock, and just climbing in or climbing out can cause a candle to topple and start a fire.
  • Know how to use your fire extinguisher. Some people have more than one in their RV. Baking soda can be thrown on small grease fires to put them out quickly.
  • Inspect your RV regularly (or have someone else inspect it regularly) to make sure all hoses and connections are tight in the engine, electrical, and propane systems, and that no leaks are present.
  • Make sure your smoke detectors are working.
  • RV batteries should be vented properly and replaced if they are damaged or no longer working properly.
  • Store your small batteries in a plastic container to prevent them from bumping into one another and starting a contact fire.

Carhart said even a couple of minutes of waiting for a fire department response can be too little, too late. He says to use a fire extinguisher as quickly as possible to contain any RV fire.

Even if you are able to put an RV fire out, Carhart says you still should definitely call 9-1-1 and make a report. He said it is very easy for fires to extend into walls or attics and hide for a while.

He explained that CAL FIRE has seen many examples of re-ignited fires where people thought they were out, but some fire was still somewhere and was undetected.

"The fire department has the tools and training to chase down any hot spots and make sure they don't flare up," said Carhart.

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Get out and enjoy this beautiful weather tonight! If you do head out and plan to stay out late, probably bring an extra later to throw on for when the sun sets as temperatures will be cooling off into the low to mid 60s for the valley by midnight and low to mid 40s by tomorrow morning.
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