Not THAT Call! - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 24 Old Apr 23rd, 2007, 10:05 pm Thread Starter
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Exclamation Not THAT Call!

There are 4 or 5 calls you never want to get or dread to answer - the death of a parent or child must rank at the top but a house fire is probably in the top 5.

We got that call on Good Friday. We had planned our FLA vacation for months and managed to get away on schedule at 6 pm on Thursday night. By bed time, we were in Lima, OH and by 8:30 am on Friday only 70 miles from Cincinnati when my cell phone went off. It was my backyard neighbour.

At 7:30, my next door neighbour, the deputy fire chief for Brantford, was relieving the dog and noticed smoke pouring from the roof vents of our house! He called it in and the boys arrived in force in minutes and saved the house. However, the garage and my 06 LT were done!!!

We did a quick exit and turned back home. The garmin estimated 6 hours and we pulled into the driveway at 2 pm on sched (no traffic at the bridge!)

What a mess. The house had filled with smoke and was unlivable but intact thankfully. The garage - now that is another story. It was a total write-off. I nearly cried when I saw the bike, melted from the battery back.

What is this? Did the BMW cause this mess? No, say it can't be true!

Long story short - the fire investigator concluded that the conflagration started in the area of the battery. He ruled out the charger but speculated that the battery itself was the culprit. The theory is that somehow, it exploded or shorted or in some way caused a spark that in turn ignited the combustible materials that compose most of the non-structural elements of the LT. Once the fire melted the fuel lines, it was all over.

There obviously is more to come (we just returned from our vacation that our agent advised we re-start) and I am not looking forward to the hassles to come. Shopping for a new bike will be the tension reliever in this process.

No morales - just questions. How could this happen - the bike had been on the charger since January? should I get another LT? Will the house ever not smell of smoke?

I will keep you all posted and offer this as a warning. Maybe disconnecting the battery for storage is the best way to go. If I had done that, I would be riding tomorrow.

I have one picture that I will attempt to provide. I think it will be the only souvenir of this LT I will have.

Geoff
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post #2 of 24 Old Apr 23rd, 2007, 10:14 pm
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Unhappy

Geoff, so sorry to read your post!
What a sad picture that is...
I cannot tell you if the smell of smoke will ever go away as I never experienced a fire in my own place.
I wonder if your insurance company will go after BMW for defective factory equipment being the cause of the disaster.
Since your bike is an 06 I presume it still had the stock battery, and that the tender was also a BMW brand... Just food for thought, and maybe consulting with an attorney might be a good idea.
I am glad no one got hurt and that the fire did not destroy the entire house, thanks to your neighbor and possibly a divine intervention.

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post #3 of 24 Old Apr 23rd, 2007, 10:24 pm Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Thanks for your kind words

Gilles, I appreciate your comments and really believe there was some divine intervention involved. We learned tonight that the had my neighbour, the fireman, not called when he did, we would have lost the house too. Apparently the fire inspector visited my neighbour, his collegue, after looking at our mess and said that had the call been 15 minutes later, the house would have been involved!

It was only stuff; the valuables are fine and untouchable ...

G
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post #4 of 24 Old Apr 23rd, 2007, 10:43 pm
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Glad you and the family are safe. That's all that matters, really.

As for another LT.. your call for sure..

...............
J.M.J...
Dcn Channing

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post #5 of 24 Old Apr 24th, 2007, 1:06 am
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Geoff,

Sorry to hear of your loss and the troubles related to it. Thankfully, no one was injured.

Antony (Tripod)
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post #6 of 24 Old Apr 24th, 2007, 2:34 am
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Burning . . .

Sorry to hear about your misfortune . . .

Two years ago a k1200lt caught on fire at BMW Tristate (Cincinnati -dealer has since gone out of business) in the shop after hours. From what I understand it was a combination of add on devices tapped onto the battery and possible faulty wiring . . .

In order for this to happen the wiring had to catch on fire.

In fact I just pulled a fuse on one of my add ons only to find the fuse melted without shorting out - trying to figure that one out!!!

Did you have any add ons?

Dan Finazzo
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post #7 of 24 Old Apr 24th, 2007, 3:22 am
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Sheez Geoff, that was quite dramatic! But as the others said, as long as it is only material, it is replacable.

Now that is also a good (sorry, wrong words) example of the importance of proper wiring procedures. Not that I'm suggesting that YOU had anything wrong with your wires...


Proper size wiring, good insulation, good protecting against scuffs, proper joining methods of the wires, all cables properly fused. And NO DIRECT POWER STEALING FROM THE BATTERY! It is really no big deal to install a main relay that gets triggered only when the key is turned on. Taking a shortcut with wiring works can mean a real shortcut as a result.

Sorry Geoff that I got a bit carried away, but this mishap of your was a very live example (for us farkle freaks) of what can happen to even a new bike like yours. Let alone the older ones with all kinds of rats nests on top of the battery...

I hope you get everything sorted out.

Best regards

Ari "the Farkle-Freak-Finn" Ignatius

Hyvinkää, Finland
2004 ('05) LT, Dark Graphite, "Sunset Cruiser II"

Bike trip from Finland to USA:

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post #8 of 24 Old Apr 24th, 2007, 7:00 am
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WOW, you owe your neighbor a house save! It could not have needed more than minutes more until the rest of the garage lit off.

Yes, you can get the home cleaned up. There are places that specialize in smoke damage, such as Servicemaster and Servpro, and they can do an amazing job. My brother had a kitchen grease fire that smoked up nearly the entire home, really bad in the kitchen, and the people (Servpro) came in with among other things some special treated sponges that cleared it up. He was amazed at how well they did it. He had to replace two cabinets, but otherwise one would never know anything had happened.

Sorry about the LT, but that is minimal to what it could have been, so followed by the bad luck , you had good luck to offset it!

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

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post #9 of 24 Old Apr 24th, 2007, 7:23 am Thread Starter
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Thanks, Guys

I appreciate all your comments and support. For the record, the bike was absolutely stock - the battery just "blew up" according to the fire guys.

Funny story - the responding FD crew chief is a Harley guy (most of the FD riders in my town are). He told me that when he saw it wasn't a Harley, they stopped worrying about saving the bike! We had the usual exchange - he wouldn't know a good bike when he saw it etc - but it was good to hear that he uses the same charger that I did so no issues on that front.

Of course, the weather here has now started to improve and I want to get out and ride. Guess I will have to fire up the Volusia which is safely stored at the Suzuki dealer. I kept the LT at home thinking it would be better here and accessible for those gorgeous winter riding days. DOH!

Geoff
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post #10 of 24 Old Apr 24th, 2007, 8:57 am
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thats a cool fire chief, arharh....

Sorry to hear about your mishap. I had a 2001 yamaha burn up the same way, garage fire, except I believe (don't know for sure) some kid dropped a cig in a chair I had stored ou there, they used to sneek in and smoke late at nite . We were in the house, by the time we smelled smoke it was too late. Saved the house (except for all that smoke!) but the garage and my bike...well, kinda looked just like yours!

Look at the bright side (ya, right)...maybe the new LT will have a good battery in it!!
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post #11 of 24 Old Apr 24th, 2007, 9:51 am
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Smoke Smell

Geoff:

Glad everything that really matters is ok and the things that don't can be replaced.

When the SO and I first got married we had a similar incident in the apartment building we lived in. I thought everything was lost but the landlord brought in SevicePro and they cleaned the soot, and damage up and you would have never know there was a fire three weeks latter. Smoke smell or otherwise.

Good Luck !!

Rich Kirker
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post #12 of 24 Old Apr 24th, 2007, 10:18 am
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Cool Calls you never want to get

Geoff,

Glad the loss is not a total loss. Very interesting technical failure mode here.

Thank you for posting this.

When you get around to shopping, try the GT. I loved my LT. But, it ate batteries. Three batteries in four years. BMW tender. Not one farkle. Strictly OEM electronics. Hummmmmmmmm?

Rob Nelson

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More than 132,000 (recently corrected higher) motorcycle riders have died in traffic crashes since the enactment of the Highway Safety Act of 1966 and The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966. Be careful out there.
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post #13 of 24 Old Apr 24th, 2007, 12:03 pm
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It's only stuff

Long as you ain't BBQed, it will pass. Yeah I'm an Ahole most, okay all of the time.
I do know where your coming from, the pictures are of my old farm house (or whats left of it) better days ahead.
Rock
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I'll will poisons the soul
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post #14 of 24 Old Apr 24th, 2007, 2:29 pm
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Dang, sorry to hear of the misfortune, but considering, WOW!!

GOOD SAVE!!

Tate

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post #15 of 24 Old Apr 24th, 2007, 4:36 pm
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Glad you're all OK after this unfortunate situation. It's a good news-bad news thing, perhaps. Now you get to indulge that nagging doubt: "Do I want to buy another LT?"

Howard Schisler
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post #16 of 24 Old Apr 24th, 2007, 5:30 pm
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So sorry about your misfortune. You and your family is all that matters.
Glad the house was saved. Think of it this way, a 07 will help matters.

So glad your all OK.

Zeke

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post #17 of 24 Old Apr 24th, 2007, 5:45 pm Thread Starter
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It IS only Stuff

I am grateful that more damage was avoided - as it is, the clean-up is now underway and we should have the house de-smoked soon.

Today we learned that the expectation is that all the stuff in the garage will be scrapped so tomorrow I get to shop for new golf clubs. It also appears that the garage will almost be totally rebuilt - maybe we can make it grow enought to hold the car AND the new bike.

On that topic, I have to admit to mixed emotions about the next ride. I had just started to appreciate the LT but the GT needs to be considered. On the other hand, I also would like a new truck so maybe a Nomad and Chevy would fill the bill!

Decisions, decisions!
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post #18 of 24 Old Apr 24th, 2007, 8:10 pm
 
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Oh No...

Geoff, I'm so sorry to hear about the loss. I was looking forward to sharing some ales and tales with you this summer.

You have to get another LT, but if you decide on the GT, I'll still let you ride with me

Keep in touch, let me know if I can help with anything.

George
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post #19 of 24 Old Apr 26th, 2007, 5:47 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brantvol16
Long story short--the fire investigator concluded that the conflagration started in the area of the battery. He ruled out the charger but speculated that the battery itself was the culprit. The theory is that somehow, it exploded or shorted or in some way caused a spark that in turn ignited the combustible materials that compose most of the non-structural elements of the LT. Once the fire melted the fuel lines, it was all over.....

No morales - just questions. How could this happen - the bike had been on the charger since January? should I get another LT? Will the house ever not smell of smoke? Geoff
Geoff, my deepest sympathies on this horror story! I have heard of this happening before, but with FORD's (of course)! Same basic story: defective ignition switch shorts battery. Battery goes BOOM and ignites anything nearby that is combustible. Fire starts small and slowly gets bigger......and the rest is history!

I hope your insurance companies are delegant in dealing with BMW and covering your loss(es). There is absolutely no reason for something like this to happen.

As far as future battery charging, there are several solutions: remove the battery for charging to a safe, covered place outside, or, charge it in a fire proof metal box inside.

As far as the smoke smell, your insurance company will bring in a specialist for that. Anything that holds the smell (furniture, drapes, carpet, etc.) will either be thoroughly shampooed or replaced. The walls will be cleaned to remove the soot, then primered again with a special sealant and then repainted.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." (Some really OLD friggin' White dude who couldn't have possibly known what he was talking about!) WARNING: Official HATE speech!
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post #20 of 24 Old Apr 26th, 2007, 8:26 am Thread Starter
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Ales & Tales

Quote:
Originally Posted by DentalFlossTycoon
Geoff, I'm so sorry to hear about the loss. I was looking forward to sharing some ales and tales with you this summer.

You have to get another LT, but if you decide on the GT, I'll still let you ride with me

Keep in touch, let me know if I can help with anything.

George

George, I am still looking forward to meeting you this season for the promised ales and tales. I guess I will have at least one tale to share!

My back-up bike (Volusia) is coming out of storage on Monday so at least I can get some miles in. I am still waiting for the insurance adjuster to make me an offer for the total write-off so have not started shopping yet. I am favouring another LT but will have to see how much I get and then what is available.

Did you end up paying Michigan tax on your bike as well as GST/PST?

See you soon, I hope.
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post #21 of 24 Old Apr 26th, 2007, 9:44 pm
 
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New Bike

Geoff,

No I didn't have to pay Michigan tax. Just GST at the border and PST at the MTO, both on the purchase price converted to $CAN.

Have an appointment at Budds BMW in Oakville for the 36000 mile check next Friday. I can hardly wait to get that bill, should be around $1000. Thankfully that inspection only comes every 12000 miles or else I will have to get a second job flipping burgers (as recommended by the CFO).

I've still got your cell number so next time we're in Burford I'll give you a call.

Later,
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post #22 of 24 Old Apr 27th, 2007, 7:00 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brantvol16
Will the house ever not smell of smoke? Geoff
Short answer - Eventually.

Longer explanation - We had a fire just before we moved into our new house. A special cleaning team came in and cleaned some walls and sealed and painted others. They did a very good job but for a while . . . . in certain parts of the house . . . I could still smell smoke. That was some time ago. I don't smell smoke anymore.

Glad you and your family are okay!
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post #23 of 24 Old Apr 27th, 2007, 7:40 am Thread Starter
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Update

Well, after a few days home, the house is starting to get back to normal. We have most of our clothing back from the cleaners, new bedding in place, new curtains on order. Still waiting for the last of the attic clean-up to be finished - they are painting it with clear varathane before reinstalling the insulation.

Now we get to start on the garage. That will be the biggy since everything has to be photograhed and inventoried before disposal or restoration if that is possible. The bike will be taken away on a flatbed to some auction somewhere for parts I guess. The front end looks OK but I would be concerned about the condition of the engine. Oh well; it is raining here anyway today

Once the value of the bike is confirmed, I can start the quest for the replacement but probably won't have anywhere to put it for a few weeks while the garage is rebuilt.

We are still amazed at how close we came to losing the whole house and are thankful that our alert neighbours were able to get the FD here so quickly.

Thanks for all your comments and concerns. This is great community that just happens to have a forum!!

Geoff
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post #24 of 24 Old Apr 27th, 2007, 8:17 am
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Geoff

Sorry to hear of your misfortunes, As everyone has said, at least the family is safe, that is great. The material things can be replaced, I know, not easy. If you are in the Caledon area, drop in for a coffee, we could also get together for a ride sometime (I will ride with bikes other than BMW ).

Things can only get better

Garry

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