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Motorhome rolled during Tornado  

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This Topic was Created on Tow411 in January of 2014:


On Sunday, November 17th, 2013, Joe’s Towing & Recovery was contacted by the owner of a 1999 Ford Coachmen Motorhome with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 15,700 pounds that had been rolled over due to a tornado that had come through the area.  With the weather damage in the area, it was decided it would be safer to preform the upright the next day.

On Monday November 18th, 2013, Joe’s dispatched their Incident Support Unit, 16-ton wrecker and a support vehicle to 109 Shady Lane in East Peoria.

Once on scene, Joe’s Recovery crew found a Motorhome rolled over on its driver’s side in the front yard of the owner’s house.  When the motorhome was rolled over by the wind, the front of it was tore off.  The frame was inspected to make it was still attached to the motorhome body. There was sag in the middle of the body that could be seen on the passenger side that was facing the sky.

With the integrity of the body in question, it was determined the best way to upright the unit would be to use Air Cushions.

Using a 3/8 chain to go between the rear dual wheels on the rear of the motor coach, the chain was feed between the leaf spring and the frame; it was then pulled over the top leaf spring. A ratchet binder was installed on chain.  The binder was then tightened. By doing this, the chain would prevent the rear axle to rotate once the vehicle was back upright.

The wheel simulators were removed from the front and wheel axles that were facing up to prevent any damage to them during the recovery.  Using a grade 100 3/8 chain, the chain was feed through the wheels to rig an attachment point.

The 16-ton wrecker was positioned perpendicular to the motorhome on the driveway.  Both winch lines were pulled out to have enough line to attach to the points rigged on the wheels. Using two snatch blocks per line, this allowed the winch lines to be attached to the lower legs on the wrecker. From there, the winch line was run out to the wheels where another snatch block was installed. The end of the wire rope was attached to the lower legs on the wrecker.

Next, onsite communications was setup for the Recovery Team.  Using a four wireless headset system, the communication hub was set up. By doing this, all of the Recovery team members would be able to communicate to one another from anywhere on the recovery scene.

The air compressor, valve bank, one start cushion and two jumbo turbo air cushions and hose were removed from the Incident Support Unit.  All of the equipment was set up on the roof side of the motorhome.  With everything set up, the start cushion was inserted under the rear corner of the motor home at the roofline.  The starter cushion was inflated. A jumbo turbo cushion was inserted in the middle of the motorhome at the roofline. The jumbo turbo cushion was inflated enough to create a gap at the front of the motorhome. The second jumbo turbo cushion was inserted under the motorhome. All of the cushions were inflated. Once, the motorhome was off the starter cushion, it was shut off.

Two landing bags were taken out of the Incident Support unit. One landing bag was placed at the front wheel, while the second bag was placed at the rear axle.  Using ratchet straps, the front wheel was secured so it wouldn’t be able to turn.  The landing bags were inflated.

The air cushions were inflated lifting the motorhome up. As the vehicle came up, both winch lines were brought in on the 16-ton.  The landing cushions were positioned under the wheels. 

With the air cushions topped out, the winch lines finished pulling the motorhome over. The landing cushions deflate gently lowering the motorhome to the ground

The air cushions were deflated and folded so they could be returned to Incident Support Unit.  Next, the valve bank and compressor was returned to the incident support unit.  

The motorhome was lifted off the landing bags, one axle a time. All of the rigging was broken down and returned to its proper place on the trucks.

The Sonetics wireless headsets were returned to their travel case. Onsite communication was turned off and returned to the proper truck 

At this time, all units cleared the scene.

Kurt Wilson
George Fulk said:
Not saying you didn't do it right but why so much equipment for a simple up right did the exact same thing with out all the extras
same storm even.
ILTowman aka Kurt Wilson said:
The body had shifted on the body and with the damage done to it we were not going to risk pulling the frame off the body.
Kurt Wilson
Trainee62 said:
Nice job with the landing bags, sure helps to keep the microwave from flying through the side window at ya when it slams to the ground!!
hillside1 said:
Nice job!
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