New Mexico family safe after RV burns

The motorhome of a family relocating from New Mexico to Charleston, S.C., burned Tuesday on Interstate 20.

All Roger Marsh could do was stand on the side of Interstate 20 and watch everything he owned burn.

Marsh was on the last leg of a 1,600-mile trek from Roswell, N.M., to Charleston, S.C., when his RV and everything in it went up in flames Tuesday afternoon.

He thought his 1977 Ford Econoline motorhome was overheating just east of exit 194 at Belair Road about 2:20 p.m. He saw smoke and pulled over to check the engine, but the hood was too hot to open, he said.

“We just started evacuating,” Marsh said.

That meant getting his wife, Ronda Odom; sons Jesse, 4, and Caleb, 2; and Kola, an Australian shepherd out in a hurry. No one was injured, though Marsh said he had a little trouble getting his barefoot 2-year-old out of the car seat quickly.

“Everybody is safe, that’s the important thing,” Odom said.

The family was relocating to Charleston for a potential job for Odom. They had downsized, and all their belongings were in the vehicle.

“Everything we had was in that RV,” Odom said.

Columbia County Fire Rescue personnel found the RV fully engulfed in flames. Emergency personnel stopped all eastbound traffic while the fire was extinguished.

The fire started in the engine compartment, but the cause is being investigated, Battalion Chief James Burnett said.

A passerby called 911. Others got the family a room at the nearby Red Roof Inn.

“Everybody here has been golden,” Marsh said.

The American Red Cross was called in to assist the family.

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