Fire in the RV

The Start

It wasn’t my finest parenting moment.  Certainly not anything I would advocate anyone put into their own “Let’s Get To Bed” practice.  To be fair, the kids pushed and pushed and pushed.  And it was 10:30pm and… momma likes sleep at some point and an RV is actually a really small space.

“Go to bed!  Now!!!  Now!  Go to bed NOW!! or I’m going to be mean about it!”  {But I was already kinda being mean about it. Truth.}

So Evie was understandably very tentative 30 minutes later (which was literally 11 pm) when she started slowly, “Ummmmm…. I’m sorry.”  I set my jaw, locked and loaded, ready to go in with some verbal artillery. 

She continued, “Daddy, I smell something weird.”  

The non-aware part of Scott’s brain had already smelled the smell.  But it took Evie saying something to bring it to the front.  I can’t smell anything, so sitting literally feet from both of them, I was completely unaware.  

Within a second (maybe less?), he was up and calmly barking orders, “Everyone out. Now, please.  This is not a drill.  Evacuate the RV.  Outside.  Go now.”  

The Drama

When he gets like that, everyone listens.  I’m pretty sure even the bugs packed up and said, “I’m outta here.”  Poor Jack had been sound asleep.  Evie went from mildly concerned to fully frightened.  Confused, I had no idea what was happening. Then I walked into our bedroom (where the kids had initially gone to sleep and where the smell seemed to be the worst).  

Burning plastic.  Something was letting out it’s “magic smoke” (that’s what we always called it in my engineering classes when we killed some electronic part and it started burning). 

It’s scary in a house.  It seemed quite a bit worse in the trailer.

The kids rushed outside in undies, shivering from adrenaline and the cold night air.  We wrapped them in blankets and I eventually put them in the van to stay warm and safe.  Meanwhile, Scott and I searched high and low in the trailer.  Was it the solar?  The AC?  The battery pack that fuels our laptops and cell phones?  We couldn’t source the smell… and it wasn’t going away either.  Scary.

We were good and stumped. Finally I picked up a little $10 fan that Scott had purchased earlier in the day.  We’ve been using little personal fans and he thought we needed something slightly bigger (after I suggested we could mount a jet engine on the side of the RV because the air was so hot and humid and gross).  That was the culprit.  A rechargeable battery that we later found out was in the process of melting (when Scott ripped it apart in the middle of the road to do the post mortem).

Mystery Solved

Everything is ok.  But now the kids are acutely aware of why firemen are so important.  I call it… ‘authentic learning’.  Firemen, you are now Gods to the family Warren, just as you should be.

Jack, on his own, got his fire blanket out and took a look at it today.  Proactive. I support that.

This morning, over Cheerios, Evie demanded to know how she’s supposed to call 911 if Scott and I are both dead.  That one took me off guard.  If we’re what?  Why would we be dead?  I’m not planning to die and certainly not by fire in an RV that we smelled early.  Girl, I’m gonna be HARD to kill.  She’s a very clever argument-maker though so she pointed out that the fire could have spread quickly and surrounded us.  Now she wants a cell phone.  Ha! Very clever, indeed!  Young lady, you are 6. You are not getting a phone yet.  {If I gave her a phone I have a sneaking suspicion we would be those people on TV who had “no idea” their kid was hacking into the FBI.}

The Aftermath

Me, “If we’re dead…. run to the Walmart and ask security to call 911.”  That’s the only thing that came to mind.  Walmart is my back-up plan.  Great.  My dad would be so unhappy with that plan.  

Everything is fine. No more smells.  The fan was tossed in the trash (battery removed because we recycle… that’s my law… even on the road).  Scott is now skeptical of all fans and Evie and Jack can’t wait to get back to Maine to sit down to have a real heart-to-heart with Alan now that they have a personal understanding of why firemen are more than mere mortals.

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