Woman killed in fire at SLO County’s safe parking lot

February 15, 2022


A woman was killed Tuesday morning in an RV fire at an overnight parking location for homeless individuals on Kansas Avenue outside of San Luis Obispo.

The RV fire broke out at about 6:30 a.m. at San Luis Obispo County’s “safe parking” location by Kansas Avenue and Highway 1, according to Cal Fire. Several cats died in the blaze, in addition to the woman living in the RV.

Residents of the homeless parking area say the woman who died in her RV is named Gretchen. Other residents tried to extinguish the fire but did not succeed. Gretchen burned to death inside the RV, they said.

The cause of the fire is unclear. An investigation is ongoing.

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You can give them an RV but you can’t make them be responsible.

That’s a pretty cold-hearted statement to make about this poor lady and her cats. You don’t know her circumstances or how the fire started.

Tragic but predictable…RV’s are not built to be lived in…

I wonder if someone from the County is doing spot safety inspections on these rigs? Might also be a good idea to have a smaller firefighting apparatus kept on site or nearby to expedite response times?

Just a thought as it is not clear from the story exactly what happened, causation, etc.

I drove out and took a look today. I was surprised how packed in they are, surprising that it was contained to one RV!

They don’t seem to follow their own guidelines for separation between units that a private campground would have to follow.

What did they think was going to happen out there!

First death at Camp Gibson:(

It’s my understanding these folks are provided with a smoke detector and a fire extinguisher when they set up at this camp. It is vitally important they don’t smoke or use candles in their RV and don’t disable the smoke detector.

While safety measures and safety actions are extremely important, your comment could easily come across as victim blaming. Whatever actions this person did, their death in a fire is tragic and not something to assign blame.

Fires in RV’s and trailers are unfortunately fairly common, from whatever cause. In this high density ”safe camp” setting, an operable smoke detector would likely be heard by many, if not all, campers. My intent was not to victim blame but to reinforce the wisdom and effectiveness of using smoke detectors and fire safety practices to protect the residents.

Thank you for replying and clarifying your intent, I misunderstood. Agree 100% on the necessity of smoke detectors and fire extinguishers as well as general fire safety.

You are correct. RV (especially older) are vulnerable to fire usually because of wiring. Some RV were built with aluminum wiring just because copper gets very expensive. Aluminum is vulnerable to corrosion and has more resistance than copper and the wiring can get very hot. When the insulation gets older, it deteriorates badly. Short circuits are common. I’m curious if she actually had and used the smoke detector. It’s a terrible tragedy. Especially if your vehicle is your home and your only shelter.

All these free resources and these people still can’t take care of themselves.

Don’t be a douchebag. Are you going to make the same comment on the story of the 73 year old AG woman who died in a fire yesterday? You have no idea on the circumstances of this fire and if it had anything to do with the person not “taking care of themself.”