It appears the Aurora, Colo., man who died Wednesday (March 14) in a motorhome fire may have started the fire by overheating the engine of his motorhome.
Ronald Chrivia, 49, was a mobile home owner at the T Lazy W RV Park near Grand Lake, a seasonal-only RV and trailer park that comprises individually owned RVs, trailer sites and mobile home units and is open from May 1 to Oct. 1, the Sky Hi Daily News reported.
From the location of his charred motorhome at the scene, it appeared Chrivia had driven it with a truck pulled behind it into the RV park on Wednesday to access his family’s vacation getaway there, but the motorhome became stuck in the snow in the unplowed roadway.
“In the process of being stuck, he was over-revving the motor, which probably caused the fire,” said Grand County Sheriff Rod Johnson, on Thursday. “Trying so hard, he ran the motor up very high. The rubber on the rear tire was flying off of the tire, then the drive shaft broke. Somewhere in that process, the transmission or the engine started on fire.”
It’s suspected there may have been an explosion as part of the fire.
But because the damage to the motorhome was so extensive, “it’s difficult to understand why he couldn’t get out in time,” Johnson said. Emergency responders found Chrivia’s body just outside of the motorhome when they arrived.
An autopsy on Thursday confirmed the man died of “thermal injury,” and was not dead prior to the fire, according to Grand County Coroner Brenda Bock.
A toxicology study is being conducted for clues as to the man’s state of mind at the time of the tragedy, but results from it may not be available for another six weeks.
The fire destroyed the inside and the entire front half of the motorhome.