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Old 08-09-2012, 04:35 PM   #1
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Warning - Hot Water Tank Fire - in 2003 Jayco 27BH - bad design? - Take Precautions

Hi
Last week my 2003 Jayco 27BH started on fire! It was at luch time and smoke started to come up under by daughter's bunk. We ran out opended the storage compartment to discover flames. We yanked everything out and got the fire out quickly. A few things melted but everyone was safe. From what I can tell the electrical connection that runs to the back of the heater shorted out starting the fire. The breaker tripped but not soon enough. In my trailer and from what I can tell others of this model have the hot water tank in the rear storage compartment beneath the lower bunk. In my trailer and others I have heard about there is nothing dividing the tank and the wire at the back from the rest of the storrage area. I called Jayco and said that I felt that this was a safety concern. They had two basic responses. 1. The trailer was built to the safety codes of the time and 2. I should have used common sense and not put anything in this compartment that would come into contact with the back of the heater. Man this last statement pissed me off! By this logic this compratment should not have ANYTHING in it as items will shift in travel. The last I heard Jayco is "investigating". I have heard that some other companies have warning lables saying that you should not store anyting in with the hot water tank - these are designs where the tank is in its own space - there is no such warning on my trailer.

I feel myself to be very very lucky. If we had not been at the trailer it would have burned. If the fire would have happened at night with my daughter sleeping 6" away....

I want to warn everyone with this trialer design that they need to put up a barrier between the tank and the rest of the storrage. Aslo we will never leave our heater on at night again - either on gas or electric. We are also going to shut the breaker off at night - just to make sure. All of this we will be doing on a new - not a Jayco - trailer. My wife rightly refuses to ever let the kids sleep in the old one again.

I have asked Jayco to put out this warning themselves as they would be able to contact all old customers and dealers - they may very well still do this but I don't want to wait. It happened to me, it can happen again. Please be careful and take the needed precautions.
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Old 08-09-2012, 05:54 PM   #2
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Read this on another forum too...very scary stuff. I have actually conducted fire drills with my 6 and 4 y/o girls so that hopefully should an emergency happen they have a fighting chance to open emergency window. We are very happy you are all safe, I don't even want to think what could have happened if this was the middle of the night.

My 2012 has the same rear storage set up, however there is a barrier between the water heater and the rest of he storage space. Even with that I have been thinking about adding a second barrier to further protect the tank, but also low point drain valves which are currently unprotected from shifting cargo.

Wonder when Jayo started adding the barrier?
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:32 PM   #3
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Thanks for the warning I have the same model and I will be looking into that as soon as possible I am actually out camping for the weekend
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:30 PM   #4
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Carson,

Welcome to the Jayco forums, and good to hear there wasn't any major damage.

When you get a chance some pics of your storage area near the HWH would be helpful, will give everyone reading the thread a better sense of what the space looks like.

Thanks in advance.

Bob
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phildakota View Post
snip........I have the same model and I will be looking into that as soon as possible I am actually out camping for the weekend
Phildakota,

Is your Jayco 27Bh a 2003 model year as well? I'm sure many of us would be curious if your HWH is located in the same fashion as the OP's.

Bob
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:36 PM   #6
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Carson sorry your first post is one like this.
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:40 PM   #7
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Hi
Your welcome for the warning. Please pass it on to anyone you know with a trailer with this unsafe design.

I too am very curious as to when Jayco started putting in a barrier. Does anyone know how I would find out if they did it because of a safety concern or if it was because of a change in regulations?

Also am I correct that trailers of my year and model did not have a barrier or was the barrier in mine missed? There never was a barrier - but I found out that Jayco called the RV center where it is at and asked them if there was any sign of screw holes showing that a barrier may have been removed. They even had them take photos of this area and send them in. I sent in the photos below that showed the back of the heater and the cord but not of the area where there would have been a barrier if one existed.

Although hard to see from my photos the rest of the area around the hot water tank is a long low STORAGE area that goes all the way under the bottom bunk bed - it was built and for and was meant to be storage. Still pisses me off that Jayco told me I should have used "common sense" and should not have put items in here that would come into contact with the hot water tank. Maybe they should have used a little common sense when they came up with such a poor and potentially dangerous design.

I just got my new Bullet today. The hot water tank is still under the bottom bunk but at least it is in its own compartment. I am going to open up where it is at and place a layer of fire proof insulation on top. Even though we got the fire out very quickly the plywood that makes up the bottom of the bunk where my daughter sleeps was hot to the touch. Every time I think about it I know how lucky we were.

Thanks for your time.

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Old 08-10-2012, 03:24 AM   #8
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Sorry to hear about this incident ,we get a lot of help full info on this site and even tho your experience was terrible, thank you for sharing it,you may very well have saved someones life by doing so. So thank full no one was injured,.........happy camping.
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Old 08-10-2012, 04:30 AM   #9
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I agree that Jayco, or any manufacturer, should have partitioned off the heater. But I also think we as adults have to recognize potential issues or danger as well. It's obvious that a water heater gets hot and that some have the electric heat ability. We as tt owners have to make sure that we keep the area near the heater clear of anything that can combust or damage the wiring. The real blessing here is that no one was hurt and that we all can use this as a reminder to maintain good common sense when loading rvs. Most of us have "exposed" or un-partitioned water heaters in our sticks and bricks. None that I know of have warnings or barriers around the heater to prevent the homeowner from stacking combustibles near or on the heater...it's just something we know not to do. Add in the fact that a tt is jostled around during travel and the storage bins become more of a concerned. Again, I'm happy that no one was hurt in you incident, but we all have to be more aware of the hidden dangers in our rvs and life itself....just my humble opinion.
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Old 08-10-2012, 04:57 AM   #10
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Well said, nitrohorse.
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