Posts Tagged ‘RV fire’

It appears the Aurora RVer who died Wednesday, March 14, in a motor home fire may have started the fire by overheating the engine of his motor home.

Ronald Chrivia, 49, was a mobile-home owner at the T Lazy W RV Park near Grand Lake, a seasonal-only RV and trailer park that comprises individually owned RVs, trailer sites and mobile home units and is open from May 1 to Oct. 1.

From the location of his charred motor home at the scene, it appeared Chrivia had driven it with a truck in tow into the RV park on Wednesday to access his family’s vacation getaway there, but the motor home became stuck in the snow in the un-plowed roadway.

“In the process of being stuck, he was over-revving the motor, which probably caused the fire,” said Grand County Sheriff Rod Johnson, on Thursday. “Trying so hard, he ran the motor up very high. The rubber on the rear tire was flying off of the tire, then the drive shaft broke. Somewhere in that process, the transmission or the engine started on fire.”

It’s suspected there may have been an explosion as part of the fire.

But because the damage to the motor home was so extensive, “it’s difficult to understand why he couldn’t get out in time,” Johnson said. Emergency responders found Chrivia’s body just outside of the motor home when they arrived.

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An investigation continues into the cause of a blaze that engulfed a motor home on Patrick’s Point Drive early Sunday morning, leaving two dead and a young boy being treated for severe burns.

Cal Fire Cpt. Ivy Williams said someone reported the fire shortly before 1 a.m., and trucks responded to find a fully involved motor home fire in the Sounds of the Sea RV Park on the 3000 block of Patrick’s Point Drive.

Humboldt County Deputy Coroner Roy Horton said a family from Clearlake — a 43-year-old woman, her two children and her fiance — had just recently purchased the 1980s-model motor home and chose Patrick’s Point for its first outing.

”What started out as a happy event just turned into a tragedy,” he said.

Horton said the woman and her fiance, James Gerace, 55, were sleeping in the back “bedroom” area of the motor home, which was separated from the rest of the recreational vehicle with a thin partition. Shortly before 1 a.m., Horton said, the woman awoke to hear Gerace screaming and yelling. The pair immediately went to get the kids — 14-year-old Daniel Critser and a 4-year-old boy who was sleeping in a pull-down bunk in the motor home’s cab.

Horton said the woman was able to battle through the flames and get her 4-year-old son, but the motor home’s side door wouldn’t open, its latches stuck in the aluminum framing that Horton surmised probably expanded or shifted due to the heat from the fire.

Horton said the woman ran to the back of the vehicle, her child in her arms, and was able to escape through a rear side window by first dropping her son out before climbing out herself. Gerace and Daniel weren’t able to make it out.

Horton said that when he arrived at the motorhome, which was in the park’s space No. 13, he found Gerace’s remains slumped against the rear side window with Daniel’s body in his lap.

”He was trying to pull him out,” Horton said. “It’s just a shame that he was so close to getting out, yet so far.”

Horton said that in his final panicked moments, Gerace tried to shoot out the large rear window of the vehicle, but wasn’t able to free himself. Bullets from Gerace’s gun, Horton said, hit a neighboring motor home, but luckily, no one was hurt.

Horton said that based on interviews with witnesses, it’s clear the fire spread very quickly. He noted that motor homes are generally filled with combustible materials, including propane tanks used to operate stoves and heaters.

”It went up really quickly,” he said. “We’re talking just a matter of a few minutes.”

The mother and the 4-year-old were transported to Mad River Community Hospital for treatment and were later flown to Shriner’s Hospital in Oakland, where the child was to receive further treatment, including skin grafts. Horton said the boy has second- and third-degree burns covering about 40 percent of his lower body.

”The cause is still under investigation,” Crist said. “As of right now, the fire appears to be accidental.”

While remnants of a smoke alarm were found in the motor home, Horton said the mother told him it never went off. Crist said investigators are working to determine if the smoke detector was functioning.

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