Race weekend ends with RV fire; smoke visible for miles

By Kathy Helms-Hughes


   An RV fire Sunday at Shadrack Campground adjacent to Bristol Motor Speedway created a plume of black smoke which was visible from miles away.
   Bristol Tennessee Fire Department responded to the blaze, however, the RV "was gone when we got there," according to Fire Chief Gary Whiteaker.
   "Some of the firefighters told me when they saw the black smoke, they thought of Exide. This shift had the Exide fire a couple years ago at Christmas.
   "We were probably three miles from the fire and we could see it when we pulled off the ramp here at the station. There was a lot of black smoke to be seen from most parts of town," he said.
   The 1998 Windsport camper, registered to Kevin Woody of Indiana, was a total loss. Cause of the fire is still under investigation.
   "It was so far gone, it's hard to determine the origin, but our inspectors are trying to do that. Those guys are good, but I don't know that they'll ever be able to, it was burned so bad.
   "It's a shame because it looked like it was a pretty nice motor home," he said. The bus-size RV was insured, according to the fire chief, "but you never know about the valuables inside. I'm sure there was a lot of sentiment, a lot of money involved."
   Fortunately, there were no injuries, either to race-goers or firefighters, Whiteaker said.
   "There was nobody home at the motor home at the time of the fire. These folks had had some trouble with the camper, and had rented cars and were on their way back to Indiana," he said.