UPDATE: Fire Engulfs RV in Temecula

The fire at Santiago Road, off Ynez Road, was reported at 10:31 a.m.

Updated at 11:45 a.m.

A dry radiator was blamed for starting a fire that destroyed a motorhome in Temecula Sunday.

The fire at 28755 E. Vallejo Ave. was reported at 10:31 a.m.

A Winnebago was engulfed in flames after owner Elind Galindo, 80, started it up and let it idle for an hour, he told Patch.

Two fire engines arrived on scene about 10:45 a.m., as Patch arrived at the site.

Galindo, who said he worked for the Los Angeles County Fire Department for 25 years, said the motorhome hadn't been used in a long time. When Galindo started it up to recharge the battery and move it away from his garage, it started faintly smoking, he said.

"Apparently the radiator was dry," Galindo said. "I saw fire and black smoke (inside the motorhome) and got out."

The vehicle was stocked with 25 to 30 gallons of fuel when it caught fire and he described popping sounds coming from its axle as it burned, Galindo said.

The man said firefighters were slow to respond to calls for help and didn't arrive until 15 minutes after the fire was reported.

Galindo said he tried to extinguish the blaze with a garden hose while awaiting help, spraying down the RV and trying to open its engine compartment to get water inside it.

"I was there for 15 to 20 minutes just throwing that water on," said Galindo. "I know the fire station was pretty close."

A firefighter declined to comment at the scene of the blaze and referred questions to the fire department spokesperson. The spokesperson didn't immediately respond to a request for comment by phone.


The owner of a motor home in Temecula expressed frustration after watching his RV burn to its frame Sunday.

The fire at Santiago Road, off Ynez Road, was reported at 10:31 a.m.

The first fire engine pulled up just as Patch arrived on scene, about 10>45 a.m.

Secrets of Safety April 15, 2012 at 07:23 PM
25 years as a fireman, apparently no fire extinguisher in the motor home (otherwise he would have known to use it). "Apparently, the radiator was dry", and started the motor home on fire.. I hope this ex fireman wasn't one of the firemen who looked after the fire vehicles. Upset because it took the fire truck so long to get there.. I think, if he had followed all the "experience" he should have had, he would have checked to see if there was anything flammable under the hood after it sitting for a year, and then made sure he had his extinguisher (I know he has to have at least one in the house and one in each of his other vehicles) ready (just in case). From the sounds of this situation, I would have hated to wait for whatever fire department he worked for to arrive at a fire.. He sure doesn't seem to have learned much (trying to put out a vehicle fire with a water hose). Yes, there are three fire stations very close to where this fire was.. I wonder why it took so long for them to get there..
watchingthings April 16, 2012 at 12:46 AM
If he did have a fire extiguisher why would he go in to get it? The rv is on fire..... I have never seen a motor start fire from a dry radiator unless you rev the poo out of it...
Popeye April 16, 2012 at 12:51 AM
He should of checked the dry radiator than blame others for his mishap. The fire department should charge him for negligence!
watchingthings April 16, 2012 at 01:02 AM
People do make mistakes..I am sure he will be chargerd for the FD. I remember the first time my radiator was dry... it blew a head gasket not start on fire.....
Secrets of Safety April 16, 2012 at 01:03 AM
The man was in the rv, if he had a fire extinguisher, he would have brought it out when he ran out of the rv. "I saw fire and black smoke (inside the motorhome) and got out." - that indicates he was in the motor home, and got out because of the black smoke and fire he saw.. Why didn't he bring his fire extinguisher out with him? Common sense and 25 years experience in the fire department would tell him that water doesn't put out a vehicle fire and having the right fire extinguisher is the only way to "attempt" to put out a vehicle fire.. That's what fire extinguishers do, they put out fires.. or control a fire until the fire department gets there.. duh.. I figured someone else might be interested in pointing out that a dry radiator will eventually shut down the motor, not catch the vehicle on fire.. Even if it were out of oil, it would over heat, warp the heads, blow the head gaskets and shut down the motor, possibly seize up the motor.. But not catch it on fire.. I wonder if he had insurance on the motor home. I wonder if he had tried to sell it. It sat for a year, he starts it up and it catches fire.. In my opinion, under strange circumstances.. might just be an insurance scam.. just my opinion though.. Why would he suggest the radiator was dry.. that is an odd conclusion to come to. I would like to see what the investigation (if there is one) concludes..
watchingthings April 16, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Ummm if i was in a motor home and it was on fire i would run from it just as any of you would ..... Come on people use your head... This guy is wrong for not going (burning) down with his rv? Thats nice.... Let the investigation happen before you judge.. goobers...
Jenn Ashley April 16, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Maybe a bunch of rats made a nest around the exhaust manifold over the years or the last time the motor home was started. If they're looking for some place warm, the manifold stays hottest the longest. I agree that the damn motor home would've seized from a dry radiator.
Cik Bast April 16, 2012 at 02:30 AM
15-minute response time for Firefighters is normal these days. The liberals needed to close some firehouses to pay for their vacations. True story.
Samantha April 16, 2012 at 03:03 AM
I saw the black smoke rising and am thankful no-one was injured/killed in this incident. When you're waiting for help to arrive to a situation you cannot control, time stops - seconds feel like hours, I'm sure if any of us had been in this fellows shoes standing there watching something we love burning to the ground, we wouldn't be in the best mood either...... I guess the moral of the story is keep your fire extinguisher handy.
Secrets of Safety April 16, 2012 at 04:03 AM
watchingthings, You miss the point.. Are you a 25 year veteran of the fire department? If not, I guess your logic makes sense.. However, most people would first turn to their fire extinguisher and then get out of the rv.. Why have one if you aren't able to think of using it.. However, given the fact that the subject of fires and fire safety is drilled into the heads of firemen and in this case, 25 years worth... It is second nature (if not first) to have fire extinguishers readily available, have the mindset that when you see fire and smoke, get the fire extinguisher.. Then if it is necessary (being a fireman it would be necessary) use the fire extinguisher, not go get a water hose.. We are talking about a trained, 25 year veteran of the fire department. Not only A fire department but a large city fire department.. Oh, but I bet you make excuses for everyone and can't understand why others would question the actions of someone who claims to be a career fire department member.. Everyone working for the fire department learns fire safety.. Hello... is anyone there?
lovemyfamily April 16, 2012 at 07:54 AM
If you were there at the scene maybe you would of had a different reaction. We were there ,and at that point we are just very thankful that everyone was safe... We were not there to investigate or judge others. However, it was amazing to see a community together to help others from the kindness of their hearts. This was a situation that started out small and within couple of minutes escalated to a danger zone. It was very scary! We were very blessed that no one was injured. I'm very thankful to God that we were in the area and were able to assist a person in need. God bless you all.
LotusBud April 16, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Please note that he states he said he worked for the LA County fire department. He didn't say was a firefighter for LA County. Most retirees his age will profess that they are a retired fireman or retired fire captain. They like their titles. Either way, the response time was long, but not unusual. Just because the stations are close by, doesn't mean they were at their stations when the call came in. The majority of their calls are medical calls. They are running to homes for stroke victims and heart attacks or for traffic accidents. They would never delay a fire response if they had the man power. They live for fire calls!!! LOL And if they call came in at 10:31 and they arrived at 10:45, that does not equal 20 mins. He should just be thankful he is alive and leave the fire department alone.
KB April 16, 2012 at 07:31 PM
It's not like firefighting is rocket science.
Brenda April 16, 2012 at 09:48 PM
14 minutes? I don't know is that a long wait for a motorhome fire? I know they run the calls based on the level of emergency? It certainly could have been alot worse with that much gas in it, Kaboom!. "A Winnebago was engulfed in flames after owner Elind Galindo, 80, started it up and let it idle for an hour, he told Patch." I also do not understand starting it then "When Galindo started it up to recharge the battery and move it away from his garage, it started faintly smoking, he said." So he started it, moved it from house, saw smoke, and THEN continued to let it smoke and run for an hour? Or I am just reading this whole thing wrong. Secrets I agree with you on starting a vehicle that HE cannot even remember the last time it has been run? The first thing you do is check the fluids as they dry up in a few months, and also you still have to watch for leaking gaskets even if new when you parked it as they still dry up and then leak out. Yes, one would think he would know better.
Brenda April 16, 2012 at 09:57 PM
If you love it so much you drive and maintain it at least 2x a year. I have such a car :) Its my baby, nothing special just a 1992 Isuzu Rodeo 4x4 that has awesome memories of raising my kids, off road races we went to, LOL. But funny thing is this was her weekend to get out of the garage, get cleaned up, all fluids checks, leaks looked for(even though seals are new, but could be dry), fuel filter etc. Then after a nice drive bring her home and look for any new leaks, nothing, so husband takes her off to a long drive out of town for the week. :) Then she will come back and get parked again until one of us wanna drive her or "warm her up". She doesnt sit for years and not get touched. Just saying.........Oh and I think it was a fireman that told me baking soda or salt for a fire in a vehicle was good too? Not sure if it was salt or something else, but he named a lot of remedies, and definately NOT water.
Brenda April 16, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Like I said above its a wonder it was not a large Kaboom with that much gas in it. I know stored vehicles are not left with that much gas in them for any reason just because of a situation like this. I have always been told especially if in the garage or close to it, no more then 5 gallons which is enough to start and get to a gas station if you plan on driving it for a bit. Not sure why he would keep 25-30 gallons of gas in it sitting right up to his house. Well if nothing else everyone reading this will learn alot on the storage of cars and restarting them after sitting for awhile. Thank GOD the owner, and his neighbors all were there trying to put it out for 14 minutes, and thank God it didnt go Kapoom, and everyone is ok.


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