RV fire started under the hood, officials say
It appears the Aurora man who died Wednesday, March 14, in a motor home fire may have started the fire by overheating the engine of his motor home.
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.
From the location of his charred motor home 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 motor home became stuck in the snow in the un-plowed 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 motor home 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 motor home 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 motor home.
Grand Lake Fire and Grand County EMS were called to the fire scene at around noon. Granby Fire was also called in for mutual aid during the emergency.
As of 12:45 p.m. that day, the RV fire was reported to be under control and in the clean-up stages. A death investigation was turned over to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office and county coroner. The investigation has since ruled out homicide.
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