Scott County

Evangelist's RV home in ruins on roadside

A traveling evangelist and his family found themselves homeless Saturday after their recreational vehicle caught fire on Interstate 75 in Scott County.

Dan Goodwin and his family used the RV as a base for his ministry that takes him to churches across the country. Once a pastor at three Baptist churches, Goodwin and his wife, Lucretia; and three daughters, Esther, Rebekah and Sarah had lived in the RV for four years.

"It was our home," Goodwin said Saturday as he sifted through the debris, including an attached Jeep. "Imagine all your possessions in a house and then all of a sudden, it's all gone."

None of them was injured in the fire, which began around 3:45 p.m. and brought northbound traffic to a standstill for almost two hours.

Jim Kanavy, battalion chief for the Scott County Fire Department, said the fire appeared to be accidental, though he was unsure if it was mechanical in origin. The cause remains under investigation.

"My wife was in the back ... and she came up and said the motor doesn't sound right," Goodwin said.

Though he said his gauges appeared fine, he pulled over to the shoulder to investigate. Smoke then began billowing out of the rear of the vehicle, near the motor.

"I tried to get the Jeep unhooked, but there was so much smoke," he said.

Though the vehicles were insured, Goodwin was unsure whether the items inside them were covered. He estimated the RV's value to be around $80,000, and the Jeep to be between $3,000 and $4,000.

Dotting the side of the road were everything from clothes and children's toys to a charred special-edition DVD of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

"The personal things, the stuff we've had for years and years and years, we haven't even begun to feel that loss," Goodwin said. "We're just thankful we all got out alive."

The family had been in Lexington to see friends graduate from Commonwealth Baptist College, which Goodwin's son Joseph attends. Another son, Ezekiel, also lives in Lexington.

The fire occurred as the family was on its way to Fellowship Baptist Church in Bedford in Trimble County, where Goodwin was to offer a guest sermon.

He was commissioned on his traveling journeys by an Osterburg, Pa., church. He said any donations should be directed to that church: Faith Baptist Church, P.O. Box 262, Osterburg, PA, 16667.