Our “stay” at Haas Lake Campground ended last week. We had rented a site for the month of August, intending to live in the 5th wheel for 4 weeks – testing the waters, so to speak. Could our marriage really sustain the stress of living together in 350 square feet?

As usual, things didn’t go according to plan. Due to unforeseen complications with the trailer’s structural issues, we ended up only spending 2 nights at the trailer out of the whole month. We made many trips out there to work on the trailer, but never got to build a campfire, meet the neighbors or even explore the campground.

On our last trip out to the trailer to bring it back home, we were greeted with a sobering sight:


No, that’s not our trailer. It belonged to someone else just a few hundred yards from where our own trailer sat.

We were told that the man who owned the trailer had just finished his breakfast and had taken his pets out of their crates to go for a walk. Not 100 yards away, he turned around to see flames and smoke pouring out of his trailer. The entire structure was engulfed and gone in 10 minutes. Thanks goodness these sites are far apart, or the adjoining rigs might have suffered damage as well.

Shawn and I looked at each other, shocked and dismayed. We had heard of disastrous fires like this, read about them and seen photos. But this was the first time we saw it for ourselves.

We were very relieved that no one was injured. But it’s really sobering to know that your home and possessions can be gone so quickly.

We’ve heard many stories about fires in RVs. I think the reason most often cited is a refrigerator malfunction (there are numerous recalls), but there can be many causes.

Shawn has decided that we will add an extra fire extinguisher; upgrade the existing smoke detectors; and purchase and install a fire escape ladder, as our bedroom is in the foreward portion and the escape window is about 7 feet above ground.

Want to know the really scary part?

Two days later, I was tidying up the living room in our stick-built home in the suburbs. I grabbed a stack of blankets and pillows from the couch and screeched! It was hot!

A forgotten heating pad was underneath those layers. It was not turned on – and indeed had not been used in weeks – but it was HOT and the plastic of the pad was beginning to brown. The leather couch was also very warm. How much longer before our own house burst into flames?

I quickly pulled the plug and called Shawn out of the other room. Once again, shocked that tragedy had been averted this time within our own home.

I think I kept whispering “ohmigod” for some time after that.