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Fire destroys camper-van

Firefighters of the West Manatee Fire Rescue work to quell the van fire Nov. 16 at the Sandpiper mobile home park, 2601 Gulf Drive, Bradenton Beach. Islander Photos: Rick Catlin

A 2008 Westfalia camper-van owned by Sandpiper Resort resident Jim “Denver” London caught fire around 4 p.m. Nov. 16 as London was turning into the mobile home co-op at 2601 Gulf Drive.

London said the van stalled on him after he made a left turn into the resort, and he began to smell smoke. He said when he got out of the camper-van to investigate, he saw flames coming from the rear of the vehicle.

The West Manatee Fire Rescue was called and a unit was at the resort within a few minutes, London said. By that time, however, he said the gas tank had exploded and the vehicle appeared to be a total loss.

A WMFR fire investigator at the scene said the cause of the blaze will be investigated, but determining the cause of a camper-van fire is often difficult unless gas cans or similar flammable items are found in the vehicle.

London said he had only some clothes and groceries in the van at the time of the fire.

Westfalia camper-vans are made by a company owned by Volkswagen of Germany.

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