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Old 06-21-2021, 08:45 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Boston
Posts: 17
Year: 1990
Engine: NaviStar International DTA 360
Exclamation Skoolie Fire! Lost everything we owned 😞

https://gofund.me/3a21d10d

My names Dave, My wifeís Cynthia & Our beloved bus was Big Bertha. We are 2Weirdos& ABus Find us on YouTube. On Sunday June 20th as weíre at Revere beach enjoying Fatherís Day we get a call that our School bus tiny home conversion that we call home was currently in flames & Within minutes, the entire bus was engulfed. We lost everything! Everything! Since we were living in it as we finished working on it since she was taking up long nights and all our funds. This build took through so many ups and downs, happy times and a lot of times we felt defeated Iíve cried in joy and frustration but this was our HOME. Some people would of said we were homeless before but NO! NOW weíre homeless, broke and hopeless! We didnít have any type of insurance either since itís hard to find a company that will insurance a school bus tiny home conversion. I guess the risk we take.

As you Skoolie know when we put so much time, effort, love, tears and so much of your hard earned life saving even had to sell most of our stuff to fund our Skoolie. Weíre so devastated, hurt & broken. I feel defeated but this is our dream, our way of life we just got to pick ourselves up and keep our head up. Good things are to come!

if you can donate, that would be amazing! If unable at this time, please share my story/ link so that others can decide to donate if able.

For every person that donates $10, I'll write your name somewhere on the bus (if you want). For every person that donates $20, I'll personally drive the skoolie to wherever you're located (within the contiguous United States, maybe a little bit of Canada) and give you a personal tour of what you helped build, as well as getting your name somewhere on the skoolie (again, only if you want).
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Old 06-21-2021, 08:48 AM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
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Hi, I sent you a donation. What makes you think it was a battery fire? I have the same batteries.
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Old 06-21-2021, 08:52 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Boston
Posts: 17
Year: 1990
Engine: NaviStar International DTA 360
Thank you so much! It mean everything to us since our bus was our everything! We’re still waiting on the investigation report but they believe it was electric or something to do with the batteries. Not sure. But thank you again so much! ❤️
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Old 06-21-2021, 09:37 AM   #4
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Rated Cap: 30,000 lbs
Sorry to hear. This must be terrible.

But yeah, this is why I am constantly nagging about electrical safety, avoiding high current circuits, making connections on non-combustible materials, understanding how thins can fail, and not mess around unless you are absolutely sure you understand how these things go bad.

I wasn't there, I don't have the facts. But it's fairly safe to say that with 99.9% certainty it wasn't the battery, but it was the way it was connected. You forget to tie down one bolt with the appropriate torque, you get increased contact resistance, you get a fire. When you're not watching. When you're sleeping.

I'm really sorry for what happened to you. But, considering how lax some people are on here, I'm surprised it doesn't happen all the time.

I hope you get back onto your feet soon.
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Old 06-21-2021, 11:12 AM   #5
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
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Posts: 15,408
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Chassis: International 3800
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Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
glad you guys werent inside!..



**THIS** is why I cringe when people take all their windows out and have no emergency exits.. let this be a reminder of how fast things can happen.. this bus still had its rear door again glad you guys were not inside!..


any number of things can start a fire in a house.. doesnt necessarily mean it was a shoddy conversion.. it wasnt too long ago that Samsung phones were burning houses down just on the charger.. a cube refrigerator started a garage on fire in the subdivision next to mine.. you can build everything perfect and srill have a fire..
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Old 06-21-2021, 11:49 AM   #6
Bus Crazy
 
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Sent you a small donation. I hope you get back on your feet soon!
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Old 06-21-2021, 11:53 AM   #7
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Thank you for sharing your story. Your words may prevent the same from happening to current and future skoolie owners.

Cadillackid is absolutely correct. Electrical fires can happen, even when everything has been installed properly.
Overheat, overcurrent, surges, lightning, manufacturer defects, physical damage, rodents, corrosion, vibrations, etc.

Discharging electrical energy can heat the surrounding air temperatures to 5000įF. In special circumstances, the temperature can reach much, much hotter than that.
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Old 06-21-2021, 02:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeMac View Post
Cadillackid is absolutely correct. Electrical fires can happen, even when everything has been installed properly.
Overheat, overcurrent, surges, lightning, manufacturer defects, physical damage, rodents, corrosion, vibrations, etc.
Three weeks ago, we replaced our fridge, which was tripping the GFI outlet it was on (all our outlets are GFI). I bypassed the GFI and probed it with a multimeter, fridge door to some nearby trim in the floor.

I was getting 24VAC. It was a high resistance path (the trim was likely touching a screw that hit the floor, connecting it to chassis/ground) so we'd have gotten a little zap if we stepped on the trim barefoot while opening the fridge, if not for the GFI.

Apparently older fridge compressors can develop ground faults as they near the end of their lifespans. Was news to me!
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Old 06-21-2021, 02:52 PM   #9
Bus Geek
 
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Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by kazetsukai View Post
Three weeks ago, we replaced our fridge, which was tripping the GFI outlet it was on (all our outlets are GFI). I bypassed the GFI and probed it with a multimeter, fridge door to some nearby trim in the floor.

I was getting 24VAC. It was a high resistance path (the trim was likely touching a screw that hit the floor, connecting it to chassis/ground) so we'd have gotten a little zap if we stepped on the trim barefoot while opening the fridge, if not for the GFI.

Apparently older fridge compressors can develop ground faults as they near the end of their lifespans. Was news to me!

A/C's shorting to ground was a pretty common failure when I worked in HVAC.. sometimes high resistance shorts.. normally an A/C or frig is grounded so it kills a breaker if it gets too much but its possible to see a float in certain conditions..



the electrical arc mentioned above is something that arc-fault breakers are designed to handle.. a small arc even that of a light bulb burning out or the crack you get if you plug in say a hair dryer thats already turned on can trip them.. and also an arc that could cause a fire.. ie internal arc in a power brick, computer, etc.. they protect against.. I haver them all over my house.. it takes some patience to have them as you do get nuisance trips occasionally but they arent on any of my motor circuits..



I dont live in a skoolie so im fortunate to have the ability to insure everything in my house well.. (and I pay for it..)..



ive watched houses in my subdivision go down before and it doesnt take long for these newer homes to burn up.. a bus is even worse as you have near zero fire break for the fire to spread from one end to the other and for the interior to instantly superheat to flashover and even auto-ignition temp.
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Old 06-21-2021, 04:21 PM   #10
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Condolences on the loss of all your stuff. Happens a lot with boats when they sink in the ocean. Tough when all your eggs are in one basket.

I am fixing the step into the motorhome, and I discovered it had a battery compartment in the floor right behind the step, and all I could think to myself, is that is a great place to get a fire started, right in front of the exit door. The compartment might be better off storing water or a fire extinguisher.
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Old 06-21-2021, 04:33 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by kazetsukai View Post
Apparently older fridge compressors can develop ground faults as they near the end of their lifespans. Was news to me!
I wonder if this is from the compressor oil getting full of metal particles making it conductive.
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Old 06-21-2021, 06:14 PM   #12
Bus Geek
 
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Originally Posted by BeNimble View Post
I wonder if this is from the compressor oil getting full of metal particles making it conductive.

sometimes it is because of improper assembly.. with certain HFC refrigerants if you braze too hot you can create oxidized copper to flake off of the pipe and can create a mildly acidic condition in the refrigerant circuit..



over time this can start to eat away at the motor windings as the refrigerant is in contact with the motor in most sealed compressors.. if you happen to get mild conductivity and a little arcing between windings the problem exacerbates itself more and quicker as copper windings come apart into the refrigerant..



with an A/C system using HFC 410A this is why you run a slow nitrogen purge when brazing the fittings up.. no oxygen no oxidation..
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Old 06-21-2021, 07:36 PM   #13
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Add to the possibility if an apartment sized refrigerator from Home Depot or Lowes was used. These new refrigerators use R600 which is butane.
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Old 06-21-2021, 08:58 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
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Posts: 17
Year: 1990
Engine: NaviStar International DTA 360
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bert06840 View Post
Sorry to hear. This must be terrible.

But yeah, this is why I am constantly nagging about electrical safety, avoiding high current circuits, making connections on non-combustible materials, understanding how thins can fail, and not mess around unless you are absolutely sure you understand how these things go bad.

I wasn't there, I don't have the facts. But it's fairly safe to say that with 99.9% certainty it wasn't the battery, but it was the way it was connected. You forget to tie down one bolt with the appropriate torque, you get increased contact resistance, you get a fire. When you're not watching. When you're sleeping.

I'm really sorry for what happened to you. But, considering how lax some people are on here, I'm surprised it doesn't happen all the time.

I hope you get back onto your feet soon.
Iím still waiting to hear back from the report but youíre probably 100% right! Weíre so down and hopeless right now things arenít looking good for us 😔 itís in gods hands 🙌
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Old 06-21-2021, 09:11 PM   #15
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Year: 2009
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: G27E102
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Skoolie Fire! Lost everything we owned

Youíll eventually bounce back!

Remember that if it ainít hard, itís not worth doing.

Skoolies arenít for everyone - only the most resilient and versatile people can handle the challenges it throws your way.

Good luck!
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Old 06-21-2021, 09:16 PM   #16
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Add to the possibility if an apartment sized refrigerator from Home Depot or Lowes was used. These new refrigerators use R600 which is butane.

Yeah, but thatís not so much of an issue as I was originally worried about.

I bought a 13.9 cu ft IKEA fridge/freezer combo, and since it could be a European model, it may indeed use R600a. Since it seems that the going rate is about 1 oz of refrigerant per 6 cu ft, Iím assuming that, worst case, it has 3 oz of R600a in it. (It probably doesnít scale linearly).

Since rattle cans of paint or hairspray have about 15% of propellant in them, 3 oz of R600a in the fridge is about the same as you would find in two or three rattle cans.

Thatís still enough for a mean ball of fire, but typical hair salon levels of butane in the air are not enough to create a mushroom cloud when **** hits the fan. Or to justify clinging onto HFCs like R134a.

It does make me cringe a little though - just like sending 12V into a fuel sender that goes straight into your fuel tank. I know thereís not enough oxygen and nothing CAN happen. Because stoichiometry and stuff. But still.
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Old 06-21-2021, 09:21 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Boston
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Year: 1990
Engine: NaviStar International DTA 360
If you guys can share our GoFundMe page it would mean more than anything in this world (donít have much anymore) lmao . No! Seriously tho lol it would mean so much even if people could just share the story

Much love ❤️
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Old 06-21-2021, 09:26 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
Öif you braze too hot you can create oxidized copper to flake off of the pipe and can create a mildly acidic condition in the refrigerant circuit..

over time this can start to eat away at the motor windings as the refrigerant is in contact with the motor in most sealed compressors.. if you happen to get mild conductivity..
Thats one of those things that Iíd never think about until something happens.

Long term reliability of anything is incredibly difficult to predict without real life experience.

Historically, a Mercedes/Caterpillar engine/Fluke multimeter/Bridgeport mill/Ö was reliable because it was stupidly over-dimensioned in every way. So whenever things started eroding/wearing out, it didnít matter because there was so much margin.

Since that costs a lot (material/fuel/Ö) doing things that way is not anymore acceptable, so you get a much fuzzier picture of ďfailureĒ..
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Old 06-21-2021, 09:27 PM   #19
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it would mean more than anything in this world (donít have much anymore)
Got family or friends to rely on during these trying times??
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Old 06-21-2021, 09:45 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
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No not really. We really wish we did but time will tell where we will end
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