Fire engulfs $700,000 motorhome in gorge

MOHAVE COUNTY, Ariz. Traffic on Interstate 15 through Arizona was at a stand still Thursday afternoon as firefighters attacked a motorhome that caught fire.

A motorhome caught fire on northbound I-15 around milepost 22 in the Virgin River Gorge, bringing traffic to a stop as firefighters dealt with the blaze, Mohave County, Arizona, April 20, 201 | Photo courtesy of John Bottoms, St. George News

Around 1:30 p.m., the engine compartment of a motorhome on northbound I-15 in the area of milepost 22 caught fire. The driver pulled the motorhome off the road and evacuated with his wife before it spread too far, Beaver Dam-Littlefield Fire Chief Jeff Hunt said.

Both the Beaver Dam-Littlefield and St. George fire departments were alerted to the blaze and responded accordingly. The response was delayed by the stop-and-go traffic the fire was causing as motorists moved around it.

By the time the Beaver Dam-Littlfield firefighters arrived, the entire motrohome was engulfed in flames and the front of a four-door pickup it was towing had also caught fire, Hunt said.

A motorhome caught fire on northbound I-15 around milepost 22 in the Virgin River Gorge, bringing traffic to a stop as firefighters dealt with the blaze, Mohave County, Arizona, April 20, 201 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

While Utah and Arizona firefighters dealt with the blaze, troopers with the Arizona Department of Public Safety closed northbound Interstate 15, ultimately causing a backup of up to five miles.

The St. George Fire Department brought a fire engine and brush truck to the scene while the Beaver Dam-Littlefield firefighters arrived with a fire engine and a water tender with a 3,500 gallon capacity.

The firefighters used all of the water within their fire engines and the water tender to put out the fire, Hunt said.

A brush truck and crew with the Bureau of Land Management also became involved as part of the hillside caught fire as well.

The motorhome, which had an estimated value of $700,000, plus the four-door pickup truck, were total losses, Hunt said. The only thing that didn’t get torched was a RZR utility vehicle towed behind the pickup.

Part of the northbound Interstate 15 was opened to traffic around 3:20 p.m., shortly after the St. George firefighters were released from the scene.

A motorhome caught fire on northbound I-15 around milepost 22 in the Virgin River Gorge, bringing traffic to a stop as firefighters dealt with the blaze, Mohave County, Arizona, April 20, 201 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

While the motorhome fire had been put out and responders were slowly clearing the scene, a woman in a car at the end of the five-mile backup ran into the back of a semitractor-trailer. She received an injury to her hand yet refused medical transport by ambulance, Hunt said.

Following that incident, a truck hauling a flatbed trailer on southbound Interstate 15 took a corner too fast and went off the road. It came to a stop between the guardrail along the road way and the edge of the hillside.

If the truck’s position had been a little more to one side or the other, it would likely have either crashed into the guardrail or gone flying down the hillside.

While northbound traffic was delayed by the motorhome fire, southbound traffic also slowed to a crawl in the same area due to construction reducing southbound travel to a single lane.

Times like this make Old Highway 91 look like a welcomed alternative to Interstate 15. However, part of Old Highway 91 is also currently subject to roadwork that may cause travel delays during the week.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by emergency responders who were at the scene and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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6 Comments

  • comments April 20, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    700 G’s? my word that’s a wad of cash for a silly obnoxious RV, actually pretentious and rather obscene. If u got that kind of cash to plunk down (even for pmts) I bet u got good insurance at least.

    whole thing sounds like a traffic nightmare

    • Utahguns April 21, 2017 at 11:49 am

      OMG……………………………….really?
      $700G’s is nothing for a top end diesel pusher motorhome.
      For some folks, $700G’s is pocket change. OK?
      And….it’s obvious you’re probably envious of those in a higher meat and potatoes bracket because of your “comments” about a “silly obnoxious RV, pretentious and rather obscene….”.
      Besides there’s probably hope for you since you were happy the RZR survived 🙂

      • comments April 21, 2017 at 4:24 pm

        “$700G’s is nothing”

        You and I must be from different worlds. I’ve actually had to work for a living, and yea, if someone pays more for an RV than a huge high-end house then it is obscene. I must be gettin’ old. RZR comment was sarcasm, buddy.

  • comments April 20, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    For 700 large you’d think they could fireproof it a little better, or install a halon system. at least the rzr survived

  • wilbur April 21, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    I’d get all burned up if I had to tow all those toys, speaking for myself.

  • utahdiablo April 21, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    The Gorge is a accident waiting to happen each and everyday with speeders, swerving 18 wheelers, cell phone drivers, and on and on, can’t get on the old 91 as it’s all torn up and chip sealed breaking your windshield or tearing up your paint job….UHP and AHP, get out on the damn road and write some tickets!

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