Fire totals RV on Highway 99

The driver of a recreational vehicle suffered singed whiskers and minor burns to his hand after a newly repaired motor home burst into flames Thursday morning on South Pacific Highway north of Ashland.

Three firefighters responded to a car fire call at the intersection of South Talent Avenue and Highway 99 at about 10:30 a.m. to find a 34-foot Winnebago fully engulfed in flames, said Jackson County Fire District No. 5 Capt. Vince Lockett.

"It was pretty hot," he said. "Flames were shooting six to eight feet above the roof."

The battle to douse the blazing RV caused Oregon Department of Transportation crews to shut down both sides of the highway for about 20 minutes. Traffic was threaded through as a single lane for another 20 minutes, before both lanes of the busy highway were cleared for travel while firefighters continued to mop up the scene, he said.

"It took 1,000 gallons of water to put the fire out," said Lockett.

Lockett said the driver was a mechanic who had taken the late-'90s model motor home for a test run after replacing its transmission. The cover of the center console was still off in the RV. Apparently a fuel line came loose, spraying the engine, and then the interior of the motor home, he said.

"You had a hot motor and fuel," Lockett said.

The driver was sprayed by the fuel and suffered burns to his hand, he said.

"His hair and whiskers were also singed," Lockett said.

There were no other injuries. The unnamed mechanic was the sole occupant of the motor home. He declined to be transported to the hospital by ambulance, but later was taken to Rogue Valley Medical Center by private vehicle, Lockett said.

"He told us no gas got in his mouth or eyes," said Lockett. "He was lucky. It could have been much worse. But we did advise him to go to the hospital and get checked out."

The motor home was a total loss. Its burned-out husk was hauled to a wrecking yard, Lockett said.

Sanne Specht is a reporter for the Mail Tribune. Reach her at 541-776-4497 or e-mail

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