Two out-of-town visitors safely escaped their RV after it caught on fire the night of Oct. 16 in Branson.
Western Taney County Assistant Fire Chief James Lannan reported that at 9:10 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to the ABC Campground on Buena Vista Road on a report of an RV fire. Upon their arrival to the scene, Lannan said crews with the Branson Fire Rescue Department had already arrived and were starting put the fire out and protecting nearby RVs from the flames.
Lannan said firefighters initially tried to determine if anyone was inside the vehicle, which was hard to determine due to a large group of people who had gathered near the fire.
“We completed a primary search inside the RV and weren’t able to locate anybody. We then located both occupants outside, safe,” said Lannan. “The fire was extinguished in about a half an hour; however due to the construction of the RV there was a bunch of overhaul that had to be done.”
Lannan said the two RV occupants escaped without injury.
“From what the occupants have explained is they were in the back of the RV. One of them was asleep. The other was reading a book. They heard a beeping sound and then they smelled some smoke,” Lannan said. “They went to open up the partition between the bedroom area and the living area of the RV and were overcome with smoke.
“They were able to make a quick exit and escape uninjured.”
Lannan said that, while its extremely hard to determine the cause of a vehicle fire, they have an idea of what happened.
“We have an area of origin and that was in the front passenger compartment, front passenger seat. It will be up to their insurance company to actually determine a cause” he said. “The occupant did state that he was having some issues with the heater and furnace, which is in that general location. But we could not pinpoint it because there was too much damage to actually look at it.”
Once the fire had been extinguished, Lannan said, firefighters then did something that he felt proud to brag about.
“The occupants of the RV, who were from out of state, needed some pretty vital items to be able to call insurance companies, make other arrangements, find a place to stay and things like that,” said Lannan. “The firefighters that were assigned to that call worked diligently to dig through some muck and other stuff to locate the occupant’s wallet, the occupant’s wife’s purse, her hearing aids, some of his medication, his contact lens and those types of things.
“They wanted to make sure those folks knew what we were about here in Branson.”
Lannan said he would like to encourage and remind anyone planning to travel to always take backups or copies of things like their driver’s licenses, health insurance cards and credit cards to have with them in case of an emergency situation.
“Whether they take a digital picture and secure it on their mobile device or they save a copy somewhere else. If these folks wouldn’t have been able to recover their things like their driver’s license and their credit card, they would have been stranded away from home,” said Lannan. “Because you can’t rent a car, you can’t get a hotel room and you can’t fly without those items.
“So everybody needs to be aware that those documents are extremely sensitive. You need to have a back up or a way to get a hold of them in case something does happen, but you also want to make sure that they’re stored somewhere else securely.”