Is Spontaneous Combustion real or not?

RV FireFire Spreads faster than you think in an RV

What a strange topic, huh? I’ll bet you are either chuckling to yourself thinking I’ve lost it, are interested in the topic but aren’t quite sure about it or are a firm believer and cite the 1951 case involving Mary Reeser, also known as the “The Cinder Lady”, to support your belief.

What I want to cover isn’t necessarily proving the existence of Spontaneous Combustion, but talk to you in brief about the physics behind it and how it could be a very real danger while traveling in your RV.

First the physics: Spontaneous Combustion is loosely defined as a fire started without an outset ignition source. “Can that really happen?”, you might be asking yourself. The simple answer is, “Yes”. When you have a substance with a low ignition point that begins to release heat,  the heat being unable to escape, begins to rise.  When the temperature of the material at hand rises above its ignition point, and with the presence of oxygen,fire is the result. Should this happen in a basement storage compartment of your motor home or fifth wheel the results could be disastrous.

Some things just seem to naturally lend themselves to spontaneous combustion, in particular, oily rags play a role in insurance payouts every year for fire damage brought about by spontaneous combustion.

Now I know what you are saying. “Oily rags?” Yes, and that also includes motor oil, diesel, gasoline, linseed oil, paint thinner,wood stain and believe it or not, even the polyunsaturated vegetable oil you use in your galley. If you use rags for clean up, DON’T just carelessly kick the rags aside, or throw them into storage. Throw that rag away. If you must store the rag, put them in an airtight metal container with a tight lid.

I hate to say it, but if you are among the group that doesn’t think spontaneous combustion is real, let alone happen in your RV, think again. Proper disposal of all oily substances should be a no-brainer. If you don’t, you might find yourself hitching a ride to your next campsite.

And if you still don’t believe that you DON’T need a spark or flame to start a fire, how about water? Check out the video below:

If you have experienced an RV fire, you know how quickly things can get out of control. If there is a fire aboard your right, you should leave it immediately and get to a safe distance.

Any questions or comments. leave them here or contact your Central PA RV Dealership.

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