RVs, trailers present greater risks in fires

Kate Nemarich Image
Tuesday, May 9, 2023
RVs, trailers present greater risks in fires
North Central Fire responded to two separate RV fires Monday morning, one left a man and his dog dead.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- North Central Fire responded to two separate RV fires Monday morning, one left a man and his dog dead.

61-year-old Joe Perales and his dog Lolo were inside their R-V when it went up in flames around 2 a.m.

"I don't wish that stuff on nobody," said Joseph Westmoreland, neighbor.

Westmoreland lives next door and said he and his neighbors tried to fight the flames while waiting on fire crews.

"This thing went up in like 15,20 minutes and it was already coming out there and out there, it was engulfed real fast," said Westmoreland.

Within 10 minutes of getting the call, North Central Fire Deputy Chief Jacob McAfee said crews arrived and put out the fire, but fires spread quickly through RVs and trailers.

"So as the fire builds up and builds up pretty quickly due to the plastics that are involved, and the metals in the furnishings, that compartment fills up quicker," said McAfee. "So it can become a little more deadly for the people inside the compartment due to the extreme smoke and heat the builds up are quicker than a residential home per se."

The fire at Perales' R-V was not the only fire in the area Monday morning. Around the block at Dudley at Marks, another trailer caught fire just before 11 a.m. It took less than 10 minutes to respond to and put out that fire as well, but the home is a total loss.

"Since it does spread so quickly. The amount of property saved can be less than a normal residential home," said McAfee.

No one was hurt in the second fire. Both fires remain under investigation.

McAfee said during weed abatement season as firefighters work to reduce the risk of wildfires, residents should take their own prevention measures.

"I think for RVs and mobile home parks and really just all residences in Fresno County, it's important that you maintain you know your weeds to the appropriate levels and make sure you clear your yard and stuff out from debris because it can it can affect you during the during fire season," said McAfee.

Having a working smoke detector and fire extinguisher are two critical items McAfee said RV and mobile homeowners should have in their homes.