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  #1  
Old 03-12-2015
dlefty's Avatar
dlefty dlefty is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Somers
Posts: 516
Unhappy Car Fire leads to bird damage!

I have an 84 Olds Cutlass that I was going to put on the market this spring. I’ve owned it probably since 96 when I picked it up at Fall Carlisle in PA. It was a North Carolina car in great shape. I drove that car regularly until the early 2000’s and in nice weather thereafter. I began to put a lot of $$ into the engine, tran, rear end, etc… It was a great car.

Over the years between the gas prices and well you name it I stopped using it. So I had my local mechanic go though the car just to make sure nothing was wrong with it. I had parked it where my dad parks his 2003 LX which is next to my 87 FC. My parents had gone Florida for the winter. Before all the storms hit I was going to take it to have the transmission serviced but couldn’t seem to get a break. So this past Monday I made an appointment for Wednesday. On Tuesday I took some time and cleared off the snow and started the Olds up. It ran beautifully as always. I let the car warm up while using the tractor to do some more clearing. 10 -15 minutes later I got in the Olds & tried to back out of the spot. But it was giving me a hard time due to a lot of snow still. I shut her down and noticed some smoke coming out of the hood. At first I thought it was do to a lot of packed snow on either side of the front fenders. I went to pop the hood and the smoke increased. I ran as best I could through 1.5 feet of snow around to open up the hood. When I did I saw flames on top of the air cleaner and towards the distributor. I shut the hood and called by cell 911. The 911 system puts you down county to the Hawthorne State Police. I explained to him that I had a working car fire and gave him my name and address. He then puts me in touch with the county fire dispatch. I had to explain to him what was going on and gave him my name and address. Now I live no more than 1/4 mile from the local firehouse. So I hang up with him and go to grab a fire extinguisher. I used that but the fire was too strong. I hear no sirens, nothing. I call again 4 - 5 minutes later only to be put through the same rigamarole. I am watching the hood become fully engulfed in flames. Another 4-5 pass and I call again. Where the h**l are the firetrucks! I trudge through probably 3 ft. of snow and I turn off the power from the pedestal powering the Bird I wait another 4-5 minutes hearing nothing. I run inside use the land line. I get the same bs, were on the way! Run back outside. One volunteer fire fighter shows up in his personal pick up. Now the front tires are beginning to explode! He asked me for another extinguisher. I run inside and grab one. He used that but there was no stopping the fire. He asked me for a hose which I had one inside the garage. He sprayed the side of the motorhome but as the fire had entered the interior it began to blow out the glass! He gave up and waited for the others to arrive. I am watching my bus beginning to get heat & smoke damaged. Finally a fire truck arrives and puts out the fire. They were from a neighboring town. As they were fighting the fire another truck and a mini attack show up from Somers (my town). It took the firefighters 20 -25 minutes to arrive on scene and 4 frantic calls to 911! Another 5 minutes and my bus would have been engulfed too! With about 200 gallons of diesel and 1/2 tank of propane we were very lucky. I say we because of all the firefighters that could have been injured or worse. I asked the chief what was the problem with responding? He says that they were dispatched out to 144 instead of 134 and they were on a mutual aid call. I didn’t here any sirens though. They used to have a pretty efficient method of dispatching out of the Somers house but they thought they would save some money and go with the county.

Here is my dilemma (among other things). Should I turn on the shore power? What should I look for? I also turned off the propane sniffer because it was going off. The master switch behind the speaker I shut off too after they extinguished the fire. Also the galley window and rear window are cracked. Can you even get them any longer? Should I make sure the extreme heat didn't affect anything else? The smoke damage on the interior is not that strong but we will see when the claims adjuster arrives. I know the rear tire is cracking and needs replacement before the bus moves. Please help… Thanks

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Dan Leftwich
Somers NY
1987 35FC
"BaBar"
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  #2  
Old 03-12-2015
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NH Bill NH Bill is offline
1983 FC 35 "Casa Billisa"
 
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Location: St. Petersburg
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Oh man that stinks! Sure can understand the frustration with the firehouse so near but so far!

Sorry to hear this Dan. Sure hope the insurance company is fair and fast.
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Bill and Lisa Garamella
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2006 Jeep Liberty CRD
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  #3  
Old 03-12-2015
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JamesR JamesR is offline
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Location: Denton
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I'd roll that awning out and check it.

The insulation inside the fender well and wall, side marker light wiring. If you have chassis heat and lines run inside the fender well, wiring loom I would check it all.

Just off the top of my head....
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James Ricks
Denton, Texas
1984 PT36
FMCA 387867
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  #4  
Old 03-12-2015
Joatha Joatha is offline
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Location: Marietta
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Wow! Sorry to hear that happened! Glad you didn't lose the whole bus, though!

Hope you get it taken care of quickly and painlessly by the insurance company.
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Jonathan Leifheit
2001 Bluebird Wanderlodge LX ME
WanderBee
Marietta, GA
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  #5  
Old 03-12-2015
markusfmeyer markusfmeyer is online now
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Dan that is some bad luck but it could have been worse I guess. Glad nobody was hurt and you get the bus back to new quickly.
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Markus Meyer
Phoenixville, PA
1986 PT40 6V92
VB 1570
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  #6  
Old 03-12-2015
83 bird 83 bird is offline
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Don't think I would settle for one outside tire, like to match them. Flat panel glass can be cut by most auto glass companies. The rubber trim that covers the screws, I found online at auto trim supplier that was in south Florida. (Hollywood fl. if I remember correctly. It is 3/8in wheel well trim with a sticky back glue. works much better than what BB used and does not shrink. can be purchased in many colors, I used black.
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Edward Cobb
Wedowee, AL.
1993 WB PT40
1983 PT 35 (sold)
2011 Honda CRV Toad
Ed, Nina and Abbi
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  #7  
Old 03-12-2015
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KCSS KCSS is offline
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Sorry to hear. Glad no one was hurt. Frustrating at best. Hoping insurance co. makes good.
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  #8  
Old 03-12-2015
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isp2952 isp2952 is offline
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Location: 1520 N. Binkley Rd., Larwill, IN 46764
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Dan, That sucks. Sorry about the damage. One thing I'm sure happened and it won't show, when your adjuster gets there. The foam insulation in the bus is gone over a large area. There is no way that withstood the type of heat your experienced. I know from experience. Not my bus but another guys box truck. When I was building the house before this one I'm in, a friend of mine had a 10 ton box truck parked in my driveway. I started to burn some trash. What I didn't realize was that my step-son had thrown a bunch of leftover and cutoff shingles in the pile. I thought it was mostly paper and a few pieces of wood and it wouldn't get that hot. I was wrong, because once the shingles caught it was katie bar the door. . The heat was intense and there was no hose for me to grab, no fire extinguisher, and I didn't even have my cellphone to call 911 It just kept getting hotter and hotter and the side of the truck was so hot the paint was starting to turn color. Now this fire was not that close to the truck but I can't explain how hot it got. I even got like a sunburn trying to do something to control it. Bottom line is this. The truck body was spray foamed and then covered in plywood on the inside. Very similar to the way our buses are set up only not quite as thick. When my buddy came to get his truck I told him what happened and we took off the plywood and all the foam was melted on the side exposed to the heat. I of course made good on the damage. He wouldn't repaint it even though I told him to. He said when he looked at it it made him laugh, thinking about me running around like a chicken with it's head cut off, trying to do something. So my point is I don't know how you are going to manage checking that out but if there is a way it is something you need to think about. I guess it could have melted some insulation off of wires too. Good luck!
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'93 WLWB
Bluebird of Happiness
F397772
2002 Silverado Diesel 2500 HD 4x4
2003 Harley Ultra Classic
260-224-1278
Larwill, IN
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  #9  
Old 03-13-2015
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Bill Pape Bill Pape is offline
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Hi Dan,

Sorry to hear this bad news, check it out carefully , from the pictures it looks repairable
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1988 FC, Silver Edition
Commerce, Michigan
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  #10  
Old 03-13-2015
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GreenBird GreenBird is offline
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Really sorry to hear about your tremendously bad luck.

I wouldn't trust any of the electrical in the area of the fire - probably have melted insulation and wire jackets. I'm guessing the shore power selector switch sends power to the fuse box right through that area so powering up probably isn't a good idea. You should also turn off the DC power.

I'm sure someone more knowledgeable of FCs will comment.
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Trufant, MI
1986 PT40
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