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What Happens If Your RV Is Burned Down In An RV Service Lot?

Published on December 1st, 2023 by Emily Lawrence

Firefighter puts out a vehicle fire at an RV service facility.

When Your RV Service Appointment Turns Into A Nightmare

A fire is a nightmare scenario for any of your possessions! Whether it’s your home, your RV, or your favorite book, nobody wants to lose their belongings to a fire. But sadly, this tragedy can strike when you least expect it. But what happens if your RV is burned down in an RV service lot?

This is a very specific scenario, but it has happened before and it can happen again. Most RV owners don’t think twice about taking their vehicle in for regular maintenance and repairs. But if something happens to the vehicle while it’s on private property, do the business owners have to pay for the damages?

Unfortunately, RV owners and insurance companies are usually the ones who will have to pay if a fire breaks out. Nobody wants to admit fault or pay for expensive RV repairs of replacements. If they can get away with it, businesses will do everything they can to deflect blame and claim that they’re not liable for damages. But there may be some ways that you can fight back if this ever happens to you.

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A True Story in Tennessee

RV fires are fairly rare, but several of them still occur every year. In many cases, they happen while they are being driven or when they’re parked at a campsite for the night. Fuel leaks, sparking wires, faulty heaters, and a variety of other internal issues can lead to a fire. But what about the times when it’s not your fault at all?

This was the unfortunate circumstances that affected several RV owners in East Ridge, Tennessee. They left their vehicles at the Camping World RV service lot for minor repairs and maintenance. But on September 29, 2023, a huge fire broke out at this location. Reports say that the smoke could be seen from Georgia!

An RV Service Fire Goes Wild

This fire spread quickly and it destroyed the on-site warehouse and several RVs that were parked in the service lot. Because of all the flammable and hazardous substances, fire crews had to work carefully to avoid further damage. Nobody was injured or killed, but many of the vehicles were burnt to a crisp by the time the blaze died down. In the aftermath, the RV owners were understandably upset and confused. The specific cause of the fire is still unknown. But regardless of how or why it started, many people lost their vehicles (some of which were being used as full-time homes!)

RVs cost thousands and thousands of dollars, plus many of them contained valuable cargo that was lost in the inferno. Fortunately, many of the victims had insurance to cover the loss, but others felt that it was unfair for their insurance to cover something that happened in a Camping World RV service lot. The people trusted this business with their property and their money, fully believing that their vehicles would be returned safely at the end of the transaction.

The Response from Camping World

When you look at the facts, you might expect Camping World to pay for the damages that occurred within their facility. But the company maintains that they are not liable for the fire and has so far refused to compensate the RV owners who were impacted.

Both the managers at the Tennessee location and the corporate representatives for Camping World have held the same position. On the local news channel, the general manager of this location said he had no comment about which phone number customers should call to seek resolution. On the legal side of things, Camping World has not been held accountable. Technically they are not obligated to pay for the damages, especially since the initial cause of the fire is still unclear. They are insisting that the RV owners must rely on their own insurance coverage.

Eddie Bolin was one of the victims who lost his RV in the blaze. He initially brought his RV in to get the heater repaired. But like many others who left their vehicles in the RV service lot, he lost everything in just a few short minutes. Bolin recounts,

“I had hunting clothes, all our cooking utensils, camera and what not. Trail cameras for hunting and a big screen TV. I paid cash for it. I paid too much. [My advice for people] is make sure you have insurance.”

The investigation is ongoing, but Camping World still hasn’t made any offers to pay for the damages. To read the full story, visit newschannel9.com

What To Do if Your RV Burns Down

The situation in East Ridge, Tennessee was devastating for many people. Nobody wants to deal with a fire and the aftermath of cataloging damage and finding ways to replace everything that was lost. But sadly, these situations can occur at any time. It’s important to know what to do when a fire strikes, whether it’s in an RV service lot, a campsite, a storage facility, or in your own garage. Of course the specific approach you take will vary based on the circumstances, but feel free to follow along with the guide below. We have provided a general outline to help you get started.

1. Gather as Much Information as Possible

Once the fire has died down, you need to learn as much as you can about the source and the extent of the damage. If the vehicle was in an RV service lot, there may be cameras or video footage that can show what happened. Even if the on-site cameras were destroyed, nearby businesses or witnesses might have additional information you can use.

Next, check on the state of your vehicle. Is any part of it salvageable? Are there any items that survived the flames? Try to catalog everything that you had inside the RV and write it down for future reference. Be sure to consult your own records so you can also show how much you paid for the RV and how much money you lost to the fire. These estimates will help you later on.

2. Contact the Managers/Corporate Office (if applicable)

Next up, you should contact the business owners if the fire occurred on private property. Begin with the local manager and work your way up to the corporate level. Remind them that you trusted them with your property and tell them approximately how much money you lost. Record relevant names and numbers throughout this process so you have contacts to refer to. Emailing can also be a useful avenue because you’ll have an electronic record of every interaction.

3. Call Your Insurance Provider

Now that you have a decent idea of the damages and the company response, you need to contact your insurance provider. You can call them at any time, and it may be better to act sooner than later. But you can speed up the process if you have some helpful information to pass along.

File a claim and check in regularly to find out what’s happening with the process. Forward any photos, videos, emails, or phone numbers that may be relevant to your claim. The type of insurance you have may play a role here. If you only have collision coverage, fire damage may not be covered. Comprehensive coverage applies to any damages that are not your fault, such as fires, lightning strikes, vandalism, etc. Even if you don’t have comprehensive coverage, call anyway and inform them of the situation. They may be willing to work out a deal with you.

4. Contact Others Who May Have Been Affected

If more than one vehicle was involved in the fire, you can also reach out to your fellow victims. If the fire broke out in an RV service lot or storage facility, you may be able to work with other RV owners to get the full story. Share information with each other and see if you can get the attention of the business owners.

If you think you have a strong case of negligence or intentional harm, you could consider taking legal action against them. Suing a business is a long and expensive process, but it can result in a large payout if you’re successful. Alternatively, you could reach a settlement.

Legal action isn’t the right choice in every situation, but you should keep it in mind if nothing else seems to be working.

5. Replace Your RV and the Belongings Within

Finally, it’s time to move forward as best you can. If you got a decent payout from the company or from your insurance provider, you can start looking for a new RV. Replacing your possessions can be tricky, especially if you lost items of sentimental value. A fire is always devastating, but you need to push forward as best you can. Continue to work with your insurance company and put pressure on those you believe to be at fault. Persistence can pay off!

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2 thoughts on “What Happens If Your RV Is Burned Down In An RV Service Lot?”

  1. Unless the company gives you an document , repair receipt, with the disclosure, explicitly stating they are not responsible, or has it CLEARLY posted at the service counter and points it out, they have a problem. Even just telling you about the policies would not hold up in court.

    Reply
  2. First off, there is no way in **** I would pay the shop anything for work they supposedly did. I made a contract for you to fix/remodel, etc. A and B and C. Instead you returned a charred hulk. Project NOT COMPLETED = ZERO COMPENSATION.

    Secondly, they or their insurance would pay for me to get a new RV. If they refuse, there would be several of their folks in senior management who would get a beat down!!!

    Reply

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