The Essex is a beautiful coach built by Newmar. You can find out more about the Essex on Newmar’s website here.
For Canadians, the Essex comes in at around $900,000, basically a million-dollar coach.
Which makes the following video somewhat hard to watch. If you have any issues viewing the video from this post, you can find it on Facebook here.
Their Essex and their toad were basically brand new. The toad caught fire first. They were able to bring their rig to a stop safely but they were unable to unhitch their toad and the fire spread to the back of their coach.
The owners were able to exit safely. Heartbreaking though. It would be so hard to watch your coach go up in flames.
What might have caused their toad to catch fire? I don’t know the reason for this incident. It could be due to an electrical fault. It could be due to friction if the toad was in gear or if the toad’s braking system was left engaged.
From what I have read, there are anywhere between 4,000 to 6,000 RV fires a year or about 15 RVs catching fire every day. Half of the fires are stationary. I could not find any data on the number of RV fires caused by a towed vehicle.
When an RV is moving, the main culprits are engine fire or fire due to friction from the wheels and axles — tires and brakes account for roughly 20 percent of RV fires.
Using checklists might seem like overkill given the convenience and reliability of automobiles but there is good reason to be thorough when getting ready to head out on the road with a diesel pusher.
Diesel pusher engines are prone to engine fires and that reinforces the need to do frequent and thorough checks of the engine compartment for any signs of leaking.
Our toad, a Lincoln MKX, has a specific protocol to enter neutral towing mode. We make sure to check the free motion of the vehicle before we head out on the road and that the tow bar is properly engaged.
Checklists force a discipline to ensure that both our vehicles are safe and ready to operate.