Letter to the Editor – Munising News

B32276 / Fri, 19 Jun 2009 10:53:11 / Miscellaneous

Dear Editor,

As you may have read in the May 27th issue of the Munising News, I had a vehicle fire on May 20th while driving eastbound into Munising from Christmas.

I’ve many to thank, and would like to thank first, Charlie Deaver, who was following my van on his motorcycle. He was signaling trouble, pulled over with me, immediately dialed 911 to report the fire and then insured that everyone was safely out of the vehicle and unharmed.

Many thanks to the members of the Munising Fire Department with much appreciation for their prompt response that prevented the vehicle from burning totally out of control. Thanks as well to the Munising City Police Dept. for their part in diverting traffic around the scene and to Michigan State Trooper Ealy for his assistance on scene.

I’d like to thank as well the good folks at Kolbus Motors, for getting there in minutes to safely remove the van from the roadside and delivering it to Ron’s Auto Body for later inspection.

With absolute confidence in the help of our good neighbors, Brenda Webber, agent Al Weymouth, estimator Rick Williams and an amiable claims agent at State Farm known to me as Martha, I was able to replace the totaled 1995 Ford E-150 with a 1996 Ford E-150 within a few business days.

I’d never experienced an electrical fire in a vehicle prior to this one and it was amazing how fast the situation went from just a smell of smoke to actual flames behind the rear fuse panel. With time to do little besides evacuate our belongings and close up the van from the wind, the want of a fire extinguisher was the primary emotion helplessly watching as the fire spread through the van.

Had the van been equipped with a fire extinguisher it is likely the fire could have been limited to the electrical harness, the rear fuse panel and the boxed in section where it was mounted. After leaving the dealership with the replacement van, the first stop was Lowe’s for an extinguisher.

I’d urge anyone driving an older vehicle, especially those driving conversion vans, recreational vehicles or truck campers equipped with auxiliary electrical systems to carry an extinguisher on board as well.

Thanks again to all who helped directly or expressed concern thereafter.

Wade Roberts

terrible bad average good great


that’s fucking suspicious as fuck, don’t you think?

ShiftShapers @ 06/19/09 11:08:26

Not the fire so much as the “editorial decision” not to publish this letter of thanks after the suggestion to write it by one of the paper’s staff.

“All politics are local.”
~ Thomas Phillip “Tip” O’Neill

GWHunta @ 06/19/09 11:44:19

GWHunta @ 06/19/09 13:36:12

Yeah yo, given the nature of this site and your posts I would consider this suspicious and advise you to inspect your surroundings. Maybe it is paranoid to think such but reality is that we have a rogue sub govt with its own hit squad assigned to eliminate people who could spread awareness especially in rural america. Be safe.

COS @ 06/19/09 16:12:14

Thanks for the warning COS. You’re points are valid.

This fire started in/near the auxiliary electrical panel behind the driver’s seat. I had purchased this van a few weeks prior from a Wisconsin couple with 5 children.

The interior was in somewhat rough condition from the wear, tear and , but the electrical system seemed to be intact and was completely functional.

May 20th was our first truly warm day here in the UP and I was running the air conditioning both front and rear for the first time.

My wife, son and I had just finished lunch and I made the short trip from Munising to Christmas to drop my son off and was on my way back to town to do laundry when the van caught fire.

I thoroughly inspected the van afterward to try and determine a precise cause as we’d been driving the van daily without problems.

The firemen had moved a few things around in the process of extinguishing the fire and cut the electrical harness between the fuse panel and rear air conditioning unit and removed the battery from the van to prevent any chance of re-ignition.

Amongst the burned wiring and debris I recovered a misplaced metal ash tray that must have been dropped down a hole in the woodwork that had been home to one of the missing cup holders in the same section of the van that housed this fuse panel.

This ash tray has a piece of wiring fused to the top, which I originally thought was simply a result of the fire, but after a more detailed inspection I found a second mark on it that looks a bit like a small weld mark where it was shorting out against the body or possibly another wire.

My conclusion is that this van was done in by an errant ash tray that had become entangled in the wiring behind the fuse panel.

No foul play involved.

This time.


GWHunta @ 06/19/09 17:56:03

GWHunta @ 06/19/09 18:40:59

As can be seen from the photo above, the point of origin of the fire is the lowest point in the peeled paint, which was the location of the auxiliary fuse panel.

Thanks again, COS and Shift for your concerns and remember that you’re not paranoid if you’re right and the right (as well as the center) in this country should make us all a bit paranoid.


GWHunta @ 06/19/09 18:47:36

Helplessly waiting for the arrival of the fire department was the worst part.

Fire extinguisher was less than $20.00.

That’s 6 gallons of gas.

Sometimes no Peace

GWHunta @ 06/19/09 18:59:51

3 Responses to Letter to the Editor – Munising News

  1. Wade Roberts says:


    The Romney/Ryan tax plan needs to be defined, if not in specific detail, at least the public needs to understand his intent, beyond the vague statements regarding the plan thus far. Specifically I should like to see Governor Romney asked what changes, if any, he has planned for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is the largest anti-poverty program in the U.S.

    To the best of my knowledge as we near the end of this election cycle, Romney hasn’t addressed this issue specifically. The budget cuts the Romney/Ryan economic plan have touted regarding domestic spending will have a profound and detrimental impacts on the working poor in the U.S. If they are going to see a tax hike as well, the media has a duty to ferret this out prior to election day.

    Wolf Blitzer and CNN owe the working poor of this country a glimpse into Mitt Romney’s vision of tax fairness and his attitude regarding this redistribution of wealth in these United States prior to election day and Monday’s upcoming and final Presidential debate is the perfect venue for this question, the answer to which is essential to tens of millions of working class families.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:25 pm

  2. Wade Roberts says:


    Note the date of that remark. Payback a year later to the day.
    Sometimes no Peace

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