View Full Version : What to know about a Class B fire in your Newell Coach

Texas Pete
09-22-2012, 11:53 PM
Class "B" fires in a motorhome or your Newell can be very dangerous. I lost another brand of motorhome a few years back, it had burnt to the ground. I believe a Newell Coach would take much longer to burn as compared to most other makes.

There are different kinds of possible fires to be aware of in your coach such as a Class "B" related fire which can be attributed to a fuel leak from the engine, generator or even your Aqua-hot water heater.

You can avoid what I went through by knowing these things I learned from RV Safely:

Fires are designated based on the condition of the burn, as well as the fuel. While common Class "A" types feed on ordinary combustibles, Class "B" fires burn combustible gas or liquids. This type of fire requires a slightly different approach than the class A fire in order to control and combat its dangerous spread.

What Are Combustible Gases and Liquids?The term combustible means to burn or ignite easily; the opposite is incombustible or non-combustible, which refers to material that does not burn. Combustible liquids and gases are the fuel that determine the Class "B" designation and include the following:

Gasoline and diesel
Ethanol and methanol

Class "B" fires have the same basic elements as their class A counterparts, that is, in order to burn there must be fuel, oxygen, heat, and a prolonged chemical reaction, termed the fire tetrahedron, as a group.

This type of fire can be contained and often burns out quickly if the fuel source is cut off, as in a BBQ grill. However, when most of the elements are present yet dormant, once the final part of the tetrahedron is added, the flames can be incredibly fast and destructive.

Fighting Class "B" Fires
Due to the characteristics of the fuel involved in Class "B" fires, it is important not to use water to extinguish the flames. In most cases, a spray of water would not reduce the heat, but would actually serve to spread the fuel farther, causing more damage.

Smothering the flames and reducing the oxygen supply is the best method of combat against this type of fire, and so foam is a commonly used weapon against Class "B" conditions. In the case of a kitchen stovetop fire, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) or potassium carbonate are effective ways to smother the flames. It is smart to keep these ingredients close at hand.

Firefighting Equipment
To fight Class "B" fires, firefighters must have a dry chemical flame retardant extinguisher in order to break up or stop the chemical reaction that propagates the flames. CO2, which is commonly available in extinguishers, is another effective weapon against this designation of fire.

Although Halon has been used in the past to fight fires burning combustible liquids and gas, it has recently been discontinued due to environmental concerns. Experts do recommend a chemical called FM-200 for use as a halogenated flame suppressant, although many firefighting units will initially opt for the other available choices.

Burning Class "B" Fires
If you plan on using the BBQ, be sure to have prime conditions. Always keep your storage equipment clean and free from corrosion. Tackle repairs to storage tanks and equipment right away, before the risk of an uncontrollable Class "B" fire becomes high.

Have a Class "B" rated extinguisher nearby when burning propane or natural gas and carry out routine maintenance and inspection on a regular basis. Safety precautions reduce the very real risk of danger when Class "B" fires get out of hand. And remember that water is not effective to combat this type of fire - call in the professionals.

10-13-2012, 08:18 PM
Good information Pete.

10-13-2012, 09:44 PM
Also realize if it is a propane fire you don't want to extinguish the flame without first shutting off the gas supply. If not you will create an explosive situation.

10-14-2012, 12:02 AM
That is something I hope I never experience on a larger scale. Hopefully my next coach will be all electric with a newly designed solar system I'm designing to build and so there won't be any LPG gas to worry about or store. I can remember a small range top fire once and that is what I did turn the gas knob off.

10-14-2012, 01:13 AM
Oh my, what happens to cause an explosive situation? Do you think most people even think about turning off the LPG. On ours you would have to go outside to the compartment. I guess it would depend on how large of a fire were present.

Randy J
10-14-2012, 04:16 AM
I never had a clue about most of this of stuff. Hanging around here is like getting a huge educational experience. Leeann and I want to say thanks! For all this great information everyone provides. It makes Newell ownership that much better.

10-14-2012, 02:36 PM
We have another Danger..Class C Electrical Fire. Most of the Fire Extinguishers we buy are rated ABC;

Electrical fires are fires involving potentially energized electrical (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity) equipment. The US system designates these "Class C"; the Australian system designates them "Class E". This sort of fire may be caused by short-circuiting machinery or overloaded electrical cables. These fires can be a severe hazard to firefighters using water or other conductive agents: Electricity may be conducted from the fire, through water, the firefighter's body, and then earth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_%28electrical%29). Electrical shocks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_shocks) have caused many firefighter deaths.
Electrical fire may be fought in the same way as an ordinary combustible fire, but water, foam, and other conductive agents are not to be used. While the fire is or possibly could be electrically energized, it can be fought with any extinguishing agent rated for electrical fire. Carbon dioxide (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide) CO2, FM-200 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FM-200) and dry chemical powder extinguishers such as PKP (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple-K) and even baking soda are especially suited to extinguishing this sort of fire. PKP should be a last resort solution to extinguishing the fire due to its corrosive tendencies. Once electricity is shut off to the equipment involved, it will generally become an ordinary combustible fire.

10-14-2012, 09:31 PM
Lot's of good information and points to be aware of! Thanks for sharing everyone. I enjoy these good reads.