I’m not sure how many miracles a person can expect to experience during their lifetime. I definitely thought I’d already used up my big one escaping completely unscathed during my potentially catastrophic car accident in 2018.

But this morning, I was granted another one.

At 6:55am, Russ, Otis and I were sound asleep when we heard frantic banging on the door of our RV. We scrambled out of bed disoriented and blind in the dark just as we heard shouts of the most terrifying word….


Our home was on fire.

My heart sank and my blood iced into panic. Thanks to their wood-based construction and tightly compacted area full of wiring and propane and other flammables, RVs can easily be consumed by fire within mere minutes. We know people who have lost their RV – and every possession they had – to an electrical fire.

We threw open the RV door and tripped through a smoky kitchen and down the stairs into the yard. No flames were visible inside the house but, it could have already been too late.

At our current RV park in Loveland, Colorado, the rigs are parked with the sewer sides together so that all of the front doors face other doors and no one has a view of plumbing. The space between our RV and our neighbor’s is about 3 feet. It is a very narrow alleyway that is barely visible from the road between rows of RVs.

Miraculously, those very neighbors were outside at 6:53am within line of sight at the exact moment that the electrical failure happened. They heard a pop and a hiss and saw the fire shoot out of the refrigerator vent the moment after it started. The husband reacted instantaneously and grabbed their fire extinguisher while the wife came to the other side of the RV to bang on the door. He got the fire out before we even made it out of the door.

Firefighters from the station across the street arrived within minutes and began assessing the situation. At this time, all signs pointed to the refrigerator catching fire – which is a notorious culprit in many RV fire accidents. After they cleared us to go back in the RV, we gathered what we needed for the day and relocated to begin triaging our next steps.

Luck struck again when an RV repair shop was able to do a house call just a few hours later and find the exact cause. The factory failed to secure the microwave wiring to the wall so it was hanging in limbo near the refrigerator components. The microwave wiring (below right) came to rest on the heated refrigerator flue tube (below left) which melted through the plastic wire coating. Once metal was touching metal, electricity arched and created a hole in the flue tube, immediately releasing ammonia gas which ignited into a flame thrower.

The entirety of the damage appears limited to the kitchen appliances. Our refrigerator, stove and microwave are unusable and will need to be replaced. The only indication visible from the inside of the RV is a tiny char mark in a cabinet over the microwave.

The RV is 3 years old and has rambled all over the country, wires swinging and bumping along the entire time. For the last two months, we have been parked in the same spot and not moved an inch. There is no explanation of why this failure happened at that exact time today.

Our smoke detector did not go off. The breakers did not trip in time. We were asleep with our bedroom door closed.

If our neighbor had not been outside at that exact moment.
If he hadn’t seen it happen or had a fire extinguisher.
If it was the middle of the night…
If we weren’t there and Otis was home alone…

It’s nearly impossible to stop the swirl of ‘what ifs’ in my mind and to know how unimaginably close we came to disaster. It is an incredibly bracing thing to fathom.

But, the one thing I know for sure tonight: miracles are alive and well.

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