The Horrors of Owning an RV

Owning an RV is an experience like no other. Affording you the luxury of the open road for you to traverse at the drop of a hat, a recreational vehicle is more than just a home, it’s freedom on wheels. Owning an RV, however, also affords you the same maladies that tend to strike automobile owners without warning, with the added bonus of not just your vehicle being destroyed but your home as well.

If the news is any indication, the threat of an RV is very real, and apparently quite common. Take for example the story of 3-month old Archer, who was seriously burned in an RV fire in Leesburg, Florida two days before Christmas. The cause of the fire, which destroyed the RV and all the belongings of 18-year old Richard William Rupe, is being attributed to the cold, serving as a harsh reminder of the perils of living in a home on wheels. Thankfully, despite the severe burns, baby Archer is recovering.

This story also highlights the benevolence and good nature of the RV community. In addition to receiving clothes and food from the First Baptist Church of Umatilla, neighboring residents have banded together to donate these essential items during the young family’s time of need.

Words can’t accurately describe the horror that often accompanies the destruction of one’s RV. With the fire often being in close proximity to a giant container filled with a flammable liquid, the potential for serious damage to not only your home and means of transportation but to others as well is incredibly high. As this video demonstrates, a fire that started at the rear of the RV resulted in the vehicle being completed engulfed in flames. Thankfully, it had pulled over, and judging by the video nobody appeared to be injured.

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Fire is not always to blame, as this video demonstrates. The notes on the video indicate the RV flipped while going 65 MPH, but thankfully there was no inside (leading us to believe it was being hauled) and no one was seriously injured. The entire home was demolished due in part to its wood construction, though faulty brakes seem to be to blame.


Although these might seem like isolated incidents, the shoddy construction of these recreational vehicles was the subject of an undercover investigation that revealed many motor homes undergo incredibly lax inspection, resulting in failing brakes and weak construction that often results in the entire home collapsing during a roll over. As the investigation revealed, these types of calamities are common, seen in an analysis of over 5,000 accident reports.

In the end, the loss of an RV and personal belongings is a moot point when compared to the loss of a loved one, as Mantha Carter of Dulzura, California points out. With a fire burning the mobile home and RV park, she and her son John Gibbons and foster son David Flores chose to stay behind and wait out the fire, fighting it off with dirt. Thanks to their tenacity, their homes survived, though every other home in the park was destroyed. Despite their seemingly foolish decision, Carter reflected on what mattered the most throughout this horrific ordeal:

“Thank God we’re alive. We’re all here, all three of us and our two dogs.”

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