Camper Van Explodes at Gas Station, Bringing Fiery End to Florida Couple’s Vacation

by Courtney Blackann

A Florida couple’s summer vacation will be one for the books, but not for the reasons it should be.

Dennis and Linda Fitch are devastated after their camper burst into flames. Their entire camper was consumed by fire. The couple was enjoying a nice summer vacation when they noticed something a bit off with their camper.

After pulling into a gas station, Linda smelled something funny. That’s when nearby resident Scott Mohr heard unusual sounds coming from the camper.

”I heard a couple pops, and just as I came out, it was just, one big ‘kaboom’, I mean it exploded,” said Mohr, according to WOWT. “Then it was black smoke, and (the van was) completely engulfed.”

While the couple was able to safely stand aside – and grab their dog JoJo, they could only watch helplessly as their camper went up in flames.

Although the Fitches didn’t want to speak on camera, they were able to share their experience with Mohr.

“The wife smelled smoke so they pulled into the gas station here,” Mohr said. “He looked underneath and didn’t see any fire or anything, and Linda opened the back door and it went up in flames.”

As the couple heads back to Florida, this time by plane, investigators are looking into the cause of the camper fire.

The couple has owned the camper for five years.

Rafters Stranded After Fire Damage While on Vacation

While the Fitches escaped the clutches of their camper fire accident, another group nearly didn’t make it. A group was left stranded on an Oregon River earlier this summer.

Following damages caused by wildfires throughout the west, the group was rafting on the Santiam River when the accident happened. None of them were wearing lifejackets.

As their rafts made their way down the river, they got stuck in the rapids with nowhere to go.

“Two of the rafters held onto a burnt log while three others were on a rock in the river,” the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post that includes dramatic photographs. “None of them had required personal flotation devices with them.”

To make matters worse, when two first responders arrived at the scene, they also got stuck. The fire damage coupled with the rugged terrain makes the area difficult to access, authorities said.

Assisted by several first response teams and the Oregon Army National Guard, the rafters finally got the help they needed. Each person was put into a lifejacket first and foremost. Then they were lifted out of the spot and taken to the hospital for evaluation. None of the group members suffered lasting injuries.

“This event is a strong reminder that with the weather heating up, the heavy flow of the water, and the waters being cold, this is a dangerous time,” the sheriff’s office posted. “Please be mindful and use extreme caution when swimming or floating on the river.”