Campervan gas fire causes burns

Energy type: 
LPG
 
Event summary: 
Energy Safety was notified by the renter of a campervan of a gas fire. Two people were inside the campervan when it caught fire. One of those people suffered burns. The campervan was damaged beyond repair. The victim suffered burned hairs on his right leg and eye brow. The campervan burnt out and is not useable.
 
Accident ID: 
170106 -01
 
Accident date: 
30 December 2016
 
Site: 
Domestic
 
Environment: 
Caravan/mobile home
 
Voltage: 
1
 
Equipment: 
Refrigerators; Flexible LPG pipe
 
Accident type: 
Fire and explosion
 
Casualty: 
Non-fatality
 
Injury: 
Burn
 
Property damage level: 
Extended to the site
 
Outcome of investigation: 

The Fire Service report identified two possible sources of ignition – the pipework connected to the LPG bottle and the pipework connected to the fridge.

Energy Safety’s opinion is that the fire was caused by a leak from the gas pipe located in the area around the rear of the fridge. Energy Safety believes that the spark from lighting the fridge caused the gas located in the campervan to ignite and explode.

Energy Safety believes that the leak identified by the notifier was present at the time of the hire beginning, or was created during the first trip following the hire.

Energy Safety does not consider the van occupants at the time of the fire to be at fault.

Energy Safety also considers that the owner of the campervan had no knowledge of Regulation 75 of the GSMR, but did take steps to provide a safe installation on the hiring of the campervan.

The age of the campervan is unknown. People who rent out gas installations located in vehicles are required by Regulation 75 of the Gas (Safety and Measurement) Regulations 2010 (GSMR) to ensure that the gas installation is safe. The same regulation deems a Certificate of Verification issued following an inspection to AS/NZS 5256 as being sufficient for this purpose.

A ‘periodic’ inspection (for example under a periodic verification) regime for mobile and portable gas installations may have prevented this incident, assuming it was related to equipment failure and the lack of maintenance. The object of an inspection regime would be to ensure the soundness of the installation, the correct operation of the appliances and a visual inspection of the entire installation to identify degradation due to environmental factors not associated with an installation for a building.