ST. GEORGE — Firefighters battled both triple-digit temperatures and a blaze that spread quickly through a travel trailer in St. George, a recreational trailer special-ordered and recently purchased that was destroyed before its maiden journey.
Shortly after 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, firefighters and emergency personnel were dispatched to a recreational vehicle fire on South 2740 East in St. George, where they arrived to find flames shooting form a large fifth-wheel travel trailer that was parked along the residential street.
St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said that crews arrived and began to extinguish the flames coming from the front of the trailer where the fire had spread underneath the trailer and had extended into the front interior section of the trailer as well.
In the interim, two propane tanks located in a storage section on the driver’s side of the trailer were removed before the flames had a chance to spread and also to prevent the tanks from bursting from the extreme heat emitted by the blaze.
Crews continued to douse the trailer to ensure that any residual flames were completely extinguished and to check for any burning embers that could reignite at a later time.
Further, the trailer was exposed to extreme heat as the blaze burned, so crews continued to saturate the exterior with water to cool the charred material.
Stoker said when crews arrived, they found several neighbors dousing the flames using garden hoses, which kept the blaze at bay and prevented it from spreading.
“As soon as the owner called 911,” Stoker said, “several neighbors jumped in with garden hoses.”
The blaze appeared to have started towards the front of the trailer, where a large generator and other electrical equipment are located, Stoker said. Apparently, the blaze started in the front of the RV from some type of electrical or battery issue, but as far as an exact cause, he said, that remains undetermined.
The owner, who preferred to remain anonymous, told St. George News he had recently purchased the trailer in Florida, adding it was a model he spent several months looking for, since that particular model was no longer being manufactured.
He also said the trailer caught fire before the family had a chance to use it, and even the trampoline belonging to his children burned in the blaze.
“That’s my kids’ trampoline that they play on – it’s destroyed,” he said.
Most importantly though, he said, is that no one was injured and that he and his family were not on a camping trip when the trailer caught fire, nor was it still hitched to his pickup truck parked just feet away.
The front of the trailer was destroyed in the blaze, while the interior sustained extensive fire and smoke damage, Stoker said, adding what makes these fires so destructive is that they spread so quickly, primarily because of the flammable materials used in the manufacturing process, including composite materials made with fiberglass and polymers, or plastics, which are highly flammable and can burn very quickly.
Moreover, trailers are typically equipped with propane tanks, as well as fuel tanks – even on a fifth wheel, he said, where there is a fuel tank that feeds the generator located in the front of the trailer, in addition to other devices and materials that can increase the spread of a fire.
Stoker said anytime a fifth-wheel or travel trailer catches fire, the most important step a motorist can take is to disconnect the trailer from the truck as quickly as possible and drive forward to create distance, which can reduce the risk of the truck catching fire, such as what was seen during Wednesday’s blaze.
No injuries to civilians or firefighters were reported, and no other vehicles or structures were affected.
This report is based on statements from police, emergency personnel or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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