A fire which began
in the engine compartment of an RV on Friday quickly spread into a residence
next to which the RV had been parked, the Liberty Township Volunteer Fire
No one was injured
in the fire, LTVFD Deputy Chief Tom Shapen told the Chesterton Tribune
today, but the house sustained serious damage and the RV itself was
The blaze started
around 6:20 p.m., when the owner of a home in the 100 block of West U.S.
Highway 6 started up his 32-foot bus-style RV for the first time this
spring, igniting a fire in its engine compartment which almost immediately
engulfed the RV’s highly flammable fiberglass shell, Shapen said. The RV,
stored under a metal carport-like structure, had been backed up to the house
to a distance of about six feet, and with the metal structure acting to
funnel the flames out both of its open ends, the fire spread to and then
into the house itself.
Smoke was visible
on U.S. 6 as Shapen, the first firefighter on the scene, approached the
residence, he said. Right behind Shapen was the LTVFD engine, and right
behind that was the South Haven FD engine, and in the couple of minutes it
took to make sure the homeowners had safely evacuated the residence and
there were no other people or pets in the house, the fire had extended
enough to prompt Shapen to activate a first alarm, mustering the Portage,
Union Township, and Chesterton departments to the scene. The Porter FD, for
its part, stood on standby for the duration at the LTVFD station.
attack, Shapen noted, was the “limited access” to the scene which a narrow
driveway in front and a steep drop-off in back afforded firefighters. Once
the LTVFD engine had ascended the driveway, there was no following it, he
said, so the decision was made to close U.S. 6 to give firefighters a little
elbow room. “The other departments just parked their vehicles on U.S. 6 and
then walked up the driveway.”
a little, on the other hand, was a nearby hydrant, which obviated any need
to organize a tanker shuttle, Shapen added. Approximately 8,000 to 10,000
gallons of water were used to extinguish the blaze.
Shapen was unable
to provide any firm estimate of damage. Both the RV and the metal structure
were destroyed, and although most of the fire damage to the home was
confined to a bedroom, there was no little fire damage to the eaves and
attic space, with heavy smoke damage throughout the residence as well.
Shapen did express
his gratitude to the other departments for their assistance. “We had a good
response from our neighbors, as we always do,” he said.
The LTVFD cleared
the scene around 8:30 p.m.