Posts Tagged ‘fires’

Friday the 13th, Mobile Homes, Fires, Tornado Magnets and the 2020 U.S. Census

July 13th, 2018 Comments off

What if the HUD Code or ANSI labels are missing? Or what if it is a pre-HUD Code mobile home? How will the media report this? 

It’s what award-winning manufactured home industry professional Marty Lavin, speaking tongue in cheek, called the industry’s “other image campaign.”


It’s what Darren Krolewski, now Co-President of MHVillage, said is part of the ongoing wave of bad news in mainstream media about “mobile homes” that seems to outweigh the good news about manufactured housing.

Among the most common mainstream news items related to factory-built homes in America are stories about mobile homes that catch fire.

Some mainstream news items are stories about arson. Others are kitchen fires, or the cause of the blaze may have been a careless smoker. But whatever the cause, because of the nomenclature issue with mainstream media, the false impression is left that manufactured homes are more susceptible to fire than conventional housing.

Another common local news topic, especially after the start of the tornado and hurricane seasons, are windstorms and “mobile homes.”

Because of the internet, every local story is carried globally. That means that people throughout the U.S. that are researching or shopping for a home, get the false impression that caused Ohio’s Governor John Kasich to mistakenly target manufactured housing for fire hazards.

While the Ohio Manufactured Homes Association (OMHA), and their state’s resident group lost that battle, the OMHA’s routine push-back may have been a factor in rising new manufactured home shipments there, when two other states in their region are seeing declining new manufactured home shipments.

Alabama and Florida are among the state associations that have pushed-back on the problematic narrative of “mobile homes,” manufactured homes, and windstorms.


How many know that manufactured homes are as safe as a conventional house? It’s older mobile homes that routinely create problematic news. Which is why both data collection and nomenclature are key issues to advance manufactured housing education, which will boost sales naturally, Fixing the Census on this issue can help. 


The Common Denominators, Root Issues?

What are the common denominators in these vexing mainstream news stories?

Two factors, one is nomenclature/accurate data. That challenge should be tackled at both the local market – the state level, and nationally – as our recent Daily Business News article spotlighted at the link below. As with any linked article, that can be read later for greater depth of understanding and more related facts.

Proper Definitions, Mobile Home, Manufactured Home, or Trailer House – Civil Rights, Respect, Public Policy, & Value Issues


But the other is an issue of data collection. That’s where the U.S. Census Bureau comes in.

The Census Bureau provides often useful data for manufactured housing, because it reveals the substantial price savings over conventional construction.

But the flip side of the Census Bureau is what storm researchers have told MHProNews and MHLivingNews.

The Census Bureau’s database needs to collect accurate counts of how many manufactured home are in use, as well as how many pre-HUD Code mobile homes are in use.

NPR-Tornado Hits Mobile Home, Fact Check-Why Terminology Matters to Manufactured Housing Industry, Home Owners, Weather, News Pros

Doing that, say storm researchers, would aid them in their impact models, which currently – and unfairly – lump pre-HUD Code mobile homes in with post June, 15, 1976 built HUD Code manufactured homes.

Letters to congressional representatives, U.S. Senators and other public officials asking for this bureaucratic change is long overdue, and a necessary common-sense step that would arguably save taxpayer dollars over time.  Why?  Because more manufactured home sales would arguably reduce the numbers of subsidized housing units needed.

Having the Census Bureau make a change in their data collection is an example of an issue that is ideally handled by state or national post-production associations. So those who are members of such groups should be asking them to engage in this.

It is a fact that more mobile homes burn more than manufactured homes.  More pre-HUD Code mobile homes blow away than manufactured homes. The success of the quality and safety of the HUD Code is undermined by poor data, and poor nomenclature.

Keeping the Home Fires from Burning: Fire Safety and the Modern Manufactured Home

The solution is good information and media engagement.

That requires pro-active efforts now to make this part of the rapidly-approaching 2020 Census. It is an opportunity for associations to do what Nathan Smith said is necessary, namely, to be pro-active.

On this Friday the 13th, its an apt time to change decades of often avoidable misfortune into potentially millions of more new manufactured home sales, all by taking common sense steps now. Each manufactured home professional, advocate, and investor is either part of the solution, or part of the problem. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis and commentary.)


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Related Reports:

Proper Definitions, Mobile Home, Manufactured Home, or Trailer House – Civil Rights, Respect, Public Policy, & Value Issues



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Fires, News Media Reports Impact Manufactured Housing Sales, Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Clayton Homes Reaction

February 14th, 2018 Comments off


The screen capture below is a case of a picture is worth 1,000 words.  It is a composite from a page one Google search this morning for “mobile home” news.


Note that each of these page one search results reveals a news report that negative.   Every day, such media reports are part of the problem for the industry’s image.



Under ‘Manufactured Housing‘ news screen capture below, the pattern shown above largely holds true.

The Tennessee Fire Marshal’s story about manufactured housing and fire dangers was number 2 today on a Google search this morning, but was a top linked search result at one point last week.


The Daily Business News reached out to some of the media that picked up that Fire Marshal’s release.

Per a top management source at one of those news outlets contacted, when asked if the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), or others in manufactured housing (for example, the Tennessee Manufactured Housing Association, or Clayton Homes, as this is their home state) contacted them about this news item, what did that news media’s management source tell MHProNews?

Their responses to our inquiries are shown in the screen captures shown above below.  Reportedly, nada, zip, zilch.

By contrast, MHLivingNews has done fact-based reports like the one below for years.

Avoidable Tragedies! Mobile Home Fires vs. Manufactured Home, and Conventional Housing

As noted in the graphic above, often, but not always – such communications are done by MHProNews via email. That makes ‘he said, she said’ denials later difficult.  It is routinely in black-and-white.

Weather Expert’s Surprising, Bombshell Statement on Tornado Deaths and Affordable Manufactured Homes

This pro-active outreach by MHProNews is how we broke the story on tornado deaths and mobile homes, or last year on the Michigan State University (MSU) tornado death story, to mention just two examples.


Urban Institute and Manufactured Housing

When the Urban Institute (UI) issued their report, they cited three reasons for manufactured housing sales to be as low as they are today. After acknowledging thatmanufactured homes could ease the affordable housing crisis. So why are so few being made? quoting the UI report:

Yet the number of manufactured units shipped remains low for three reasons.

  1. Restrictive zoning
  2. Restrictive or unavailable financing
  3. Lower appreciation…”

Why didn’t their research mention the impact of negative news media on the industry’s sales?  Arguably, it is implied in their point #1.  But it isn’t mentioned, much less a separate 4th, point.

Was the Urban Institute Misled, Duped, or Part of a Manufactured Housing Industry Scam?

How is that possible, for serious researchers? When MHLivingNews, MHProNews, and several mainstream media sources have hit that very theme as harming manufactured housing acceptance, and thus sales?

MHI told the industry that media engagement would be part of their plan for their public relations professional.  MHI’s problematic advertorials and lightly viewed YouTube videos clearly haven’t moved the new manufactured home shipments needle.

MHProNews’ publisher – at an MHI event – explained the necessity for media engagement, which includes correcting the record on negative or problematic reports or stories.


8 million plus affordable housing units are awaiting, and there are numerous sources targeting that affordable housing market. Is MHI part of the problem, or part of the solution?


What does the evidence from MHI and their big company members suggest on the question above?

Why does MHI or other big companies routinely fail to task their PR people do what was a promised; namely, to engage the media on such problematic reporting issues? “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, linked context, analysis, and commentary.)

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Fires Burning Manufactured Housing’s Public Image? News, Review, MH Industry Impact

December 26th, 2017 Comments off

FiresMobileHomesManufacturedHousingConventionalHousingComparisonPhotoGraphicOver two pages of current mainstream media news stories about “mobile homes,” are focused on one topic.

That subject?

Mobile home fire.”

MHLivingNews has previously reported that fire-related incidents, and thus news stories, increase in all kinds of housing when winter hits.  But local media often appears to hype – say industry readers – “mobile home fires.”


There are not 4.9 million pre-HUD Code mobile homes in existence. So that search outcome reflects several realities, including the fact that multiple media may pick up the same fire story, or the stories are being spread in other ways that Google is treating as ‘news.’ But the sheer volume of negative stories, reflects the size of the problem for the manufactured home industry.

That in turn leaves a misimpression about the safety of modern manufactured homes, which the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) has informed MHLivingNews and MHProNews reflects that mobile homes were more vulnerable, but modern manufactured homes are as safe or slightly safer than conventionally built housing.



Avoidable Tragedies! Mobile Home Fires vs. Manufactured Home, and Conventional Housing

Misinformation, False Impression Cost to Industry, Consumers?

That misimpression can have costly repercussion for manufactured home retailers, communities, and those that build those homes and serve the industry.

Mobile and Manufactured Home Fire Reports, Fact Check, Industry Impact

LookAtTheFactsFactCheckMHProNewsLogoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsBecause of the practical impact of the law of supply-and-demand, that false impression arguably harm existing manufactured homeowners’ values.

Prospective buyers may get the wrong idea that today’s factory built homes are death traps, when the opposite is true.  Thus, an affordable housing option is all-too-often lost to them.

Part of the responsibility lies with media, for not using proper terminology or doing consistently accurate reports.


But does manufactured housing have some measure of responsibility too?

Example of False Impression Impact in 2017

For example, the fire related mobile home tragedies issue unjustly caused the state of Ohio to lose their independent Ohio Manufactured Home Commission (OMHC) earlier this year. Ohio’s Republican Governor John Kasich used selective data and spin to disrupt the commission’s existence, even though both consumers and industry agreed their state’s structure was working well for all parties.

Manufactured Homes Commission Abolished, Effective January 21, 2018

Because tens of millions improperly conflate the terminology of ‘mobile homes and ‘manufactured homes,’ one can safely conjecture that this single topic costs the manufactured home industry potentially billions of dollars in lost potential sales that might otherwise take place.

Your Words Matter: Proper Terminology for Factory Built Homes

Association Role in Educating, Correcting the Record

When one digs into stories about fires and mobile or manufactured homes, per third party, NFPA researcher, they are often

  • A) true pre-June 15, 1976 mobile homes, not manufactured homes; and
  • B) when they do involve a manufactured home, they are often caused by accidents or home owner neglected causes,” said Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

MarkWeissJDPresidentCEOManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThat said, because the post-production side of the industry fails to clarify and respond to these stories, it is an ongoing negative for the industry,” per the MHARR CEO’s statement to the Daily Business News.

Much of it revolves around the terminology confusion that the post-production side of the industry needs to routinely address, every time it comes up,” said Weiss.

Weiss statement dovetails with MHI award-winning Marty Lavin’s comment to MHProNews that negative stories in the


Marty Lavin, JD.

mainstream media are the de facto “other image campaign,” which caused Lavin to question the wisdom  and effectiveness of their announced marketing initiative.


Without an ongoing educational and response by individual businesses at their local market level and/or their post-production associations, the only thing that can be expected is more of the same for manufactured homes in 2018.

Otherwise, [absent an educational/media post-production engagement effort] the average American is left with misimpressions, when the facts, as gathered and reported by the National Fire Protection Association, are that manufactured homes have fewer fires and fire injuries than site built homes under the current HUD fire safety standards, and a fire death rate that NFPA calls “comparable” to site built homes,” per Weiss.

To Keep Doing the Same Things, the Same Way?

As part of the MHProNews 2017 year-end recap, and forward-looking, practical MH industry opportunities and challenges series of reports, it should be clear that failure to change how terminology/definitions and media interaction are handled – or not – is costly.


Frank Rolfe: Pressured into Silence? Manufactured Housing Industry, and Journalism

While individual companies can and should address this issue in their own local markets – see link – this is commonly the kind of work that a national association does.

The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) being the self-proclaimed umbrella organization that claims to represent all aspects of factory built housing, thus bears the burden of that mantle.

This isn’t a case where once-a- year press release, or an MHI advertorial is going to fix this,” observes industry expert, and publisher, L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

It’s simple math. There are hundreds of these [fire stories] stories every year.  So, if MHI is serious about promoting the industry, they must responsibly do what they claim. That should occur every time an issue arises, or the Arlington, VA based MHI association’s and the industry’s members must find a way to do this without MHI.”  Kovach said, adding, “What else is there that doesn’t fit the popular definition of insanity?”


In fairness and for balance, MHProNews has routinely asked MHI for comments on such issues. But the association has declined privately and publicly to defend their controversial and allegedly problematic record. “We Provide, You Decide.”  © ## (News, fact checks, analysis, commentary.)

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Fires, Tornadoes, Death Facts, Hype & Other Causes of Mortality

October 11th, 2017 Comments off

FireFiremanFireHosePhotoPixabayMobileManufacturedHomeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsFires out west are currently in the news.

But local, regional, and national media often spotlight deaths from tornadoes, which also includes deaths of those living in a pre-HUD Code mobile home or post-June 15, 1976 federal manufactured home standards.

Yet far more people die in fires every year than die because of a tornado.

Per the research done by U.S. Fire Administration/FEMA, in 2015, the total number of fire deaths was 3,362.




As the story linked above reveals, when a fire death occurs, it often is in a true mobile home. The local fire chief provided on-the-record comments used in the article linked above. 


More conventional housing burns, and more die in those homes than in HUD Code manufactured homes. Also, fire deaths dwarf the loss of lie in a tornado. 

Contrast that with the 36 total deaths that same year in tornadoes, per the National Weather Service (NWS) Storm Prediction Center in Norman OK, and the

The popular, instructive video above can be found on public-focused MHLivingNews at several places, including this link here.

Just the Facts — Tips to Managers, Front Line MH Sellers

As MHLivingNews has previously reported, HUD Code manufactured homes are safer against fires than conventional housing (see reports linked from the graphics, above).

The federal HUD Code reversed the trend of higher deaths tolls found in pre-HUD Code mobile homes compared to conventional housing.


Statistics reflect that fire safety is improving. But it is still a far greater risk to life than tornado deaths.

We teach industry clients we coach to make comparisons that the public can relate to easily,” said consultant and MHProNews/MHLivingNews publisher, L. A. “Tony” Kovach. “There’s 93 times more risk of dying of a fire in any kind of housing, than there is of dying from a tornado in any kind of housing.”


Kovach said that one must keep in mind the common newsroom mantra, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Not always, but often, hype and headlines go hand-in-hand.


While every avoidable death is tragic, the facts reveal that very few die in tornadoes. An eye-opening expose on how tornado researchers are miss-reporting facts is found by clicking this link here, or click the graphic above.


L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach addressing industry professionals in an educational session.

We hear from our clients and readers that when a prospect with specific concerns raise a topic, showing them an article/video on MHLivingNews can often make the difference,” Kovach said.

MHLivingNewsMHProNewsMHMarketingSalesManagementLogoSolutionsManufacturedHousingIndustryMarketinSalesManagementConsultingExpertWitnessServicesAs community co-owner Tom Fath has said, it’s because it is third-party. Prospects understandably relate differently to media – including trade media, such as MHLivingNews – than they do to information that is created by the seller.

Studies have suggested that Fath’s point is accurate.  One study indicated that people are 7 to 8 times more likely to believe a media resource, than if a seller’s created and shared that information. ## (News, marketing/sales tips, analysis.)

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UPDATE: OMHA Fires Back in Manufactured Housing Commission Battle

April 4th, 2017 Comments off

Credits: Official Photos, OMHA, OMHC, Digital Imaging Reports, Ohio EPA.

In a story that the Daily Business News originally covered here, the battle between the office of Ohio Governor John Kasich and the Ohio Manufactured Housing Commission (OMHC) has heated up yet again.

And, the Ohio Manufactured Homes Association (OMHA) is firing back.

According to the Dayton Daily News, Governor Kasich is calling for the OMHC to be disbanded, and its responsibilities delegated to the Ohio Department of Commerce. The call is part of the governor’s budget proposal pending before the Ohio General Assembly.

At the core of the campaign against the Commission are the claims from Ohio fire and environmental officials who say the board doesn’t do enough to prevent manufactured home fires and ensure clean drinking water in the MH communities.

But industry professionals, including OMHA Executive Director Tim Williams, are backed with facts, and say that there’s more to the story.

The administration is spreading false information and misleading information because the commission is pushing back against Kasich’s proposal,” said Williams.

tim williams exev vp ohio mfg homes assoc

Tim Williams, OMHA Executive Director.

As Daily Business News readers are already aware, we have pointed out the facts versus myths surrounding manufactured homes and fires, noting that homes built under post-1976 federal regulations have the same rates in this area as traditional homes, and Williams pointed to similar data.

Local or state fire officials have no authority to inspect or educate or require different fire codes for manufactured homes,” said Williams.

Association of Manufactured Home Residents in Ohio President Frank Pojman says that in many cases, manufactured homes are actually safer.

When these houses are built, they are inspected at the factory,” said Pojman.

When they leave the factory, it has a tag that says it meets federal safety standards. You don’t get that in a stick built home.”


Credit: Stoveguard, MHLivingNews.

For one industry professional, who is also involved with the commission, the need for it is obvious.

I believe wholeheartedly, whether I sit on the commission or not, it’s one of the best things that’s happened to the manufactured home community in Ohio,” said Evan Atkinson, general manager of Clayton Homes in Frazeyburg and a commissioner on the board.

Since the commission was created, the number of complaints about mobile home installation has plummeted from hundreds to a number you can count on one hand. What’s proposed now is to fragment it and stick it back out into deep bureaucracy.”

Atkinson says that the commission currently requires inspection of every single home installed in Ohio, and points out that it’s a commitment the Department of Commerce has not made.

I believe there’s a probably a good likeliness that homes may not be installed as well as they are currently being installed,” said Atkinson. He also noted that after establishing new rules for licensing and inspections, the commission has heard one complaint in the last three years, as opposed to the more than 500 complaints every year from consumers about mobile home installation before the commission was created in response to federal rules in 2003.

I think the Manufactured Homes Commission has proven they do the right thing by consumers in Ohio, and that’s very much proven by the number of dispute resolution cases there used to be and the number of dispute resolution cases today,” said Atkinson.


From Fire to Water


Credit: OMHA.

In addition to the onslaught from Ohio fire officials, the Ohio EPA told the Dayton Daily News that its efforts to “force Ohio mobile home parks [sic] to provide their residents safe drinking water have been slowed by inaction on the part of the commission.”

In a statement, the Ohio EPA says that it shares oversight with OMHC over the state’s 250 manufactured home communities that operate their own water systems.

This includes Pineview Estates in Miamisburg, where about 400 residents routinely lost running water; and Catalpa Grove Mobile Home Park in Dayton, where the owner failed to test the system for contaminants such as lead, copper and bacteria,” the EPA said in the statement.

In both cases, the Manufactured Homes Commission denied any appreciable assistance to the Ohio EPA in taking action on the park’s [sic] license, instead forcing the EPA to pursue the issue through lengthy court battles. The manufactured homes commission rarely – if ever – bothers to use its full regulatory authority to enforce safe water rules.”

According to OMHC director Janet Williams dealing with the EPA caused more confusion than progress.

We have never had clear authority to take action against a mobile home park [sic] owner’s license for water quality issues since we began licensing mobile home parks [sic] in December 2012,” said Williams.

We want to work with them in the process of whatever legal avenue we have to help them enforce the water rules they have in manufactured home parks [sic].”

Strong words from the Ohio EPA came as a surprise to Tim Williams.

The EPA showed little interest in increasing oversight of manufactured home communities in the past.”

Jim Demitrus, who was on the commission board from 2006 through 2015, pointed out that pulling a manufactured home community’s license over water issues would lead to serious and potentially severe consequences for residents.

If they pull the license, everybody in that community has to move out,” said Demitrus.

I would like to see somebody in state government do that. Pull the license, and you have to move 100 families.”

The Daily Business News will continue to follow this story closely and provide updates. ##


(Image credits are as shown above.)



RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Vol. Fire Dept. has Modular House for Quicker Response

March 14th, 2012 Comments off

The Enumclaw Patch reports due to local volunteer firemens’ inability to respond to fires more quickly from their own homes, the King County Fire District bought a modular home for sleeping quarters to better staff the Cumberland Fire Station. Many of the former volunteers have retired or moved from this town just southeast of Seattle, Washington, leaving the fire station unstaffed. The modular home had belonged to a county commissioner’s relatives, which initially raised eyebrows about possible conflict of interest, and led to questions about alternatives including site-built and new modular. In the end the modular house the district bought for $85,000 cost $307,000 for permits, and to move, install, and hook-up the new quarters.

(Photo credit: EnumclawPatch)

News Stories Highlight Importance of Media Education on Manufactured Homes

December 21st, 2010 Comments off

Recent news stories highlight the importance for the manufactured home industry of providing reporters and editors with the information necessary to get the terms right. As several recent cases concerning fires in likely pre-HUD Code mobile homes demonstrate, new reports frequently and inadvertently paint manufactured homes in a bad light, when the homes in question are not modern manufactured homes at all.  Channel WAFB in Louisiana ran a story December 14 titled “Flames destroy manufactured home in minutes.” We asked an expert, who says visual evidence from the photo suggests this is a pre-HUD Code mobile home, not a manufactured home built to the federal safety standards established by the HUD Code. Thus by definition, the home is most likely not a manufactured home; it’s a mobile home. A separate story, this one in the Lancaster Eagle Gazette in Ohio states, “for owners of manufactured homes, it’s even more important to make sure your home is fire-safe. Manufactured housing has the highest risk of fire deaths because fires spread faster–particularly in homes built before new safety standards took effect in 1976.” “If you’re following closely, you know that manufactured homes were not built before June 15, 1976,” says Publisher L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.  “So a home built before that date is a mobile home that was built to different standards. ‘Manufactured home’ or ‘manufactured housing’ are the terms properly given to the homes upon the adoption of the HUD Code in June 15, 1976.” recently interviewed insurance experts who confirmed a manufactured home built to the HUD code is no more prone to fire than a site-built home. Insurance studies confirm they are as safe as or safer than conventional housing. Read the article here: Find a recent press release here:

Experts Say Manufactured Homes Not More Prone to Fire

December 1st, 2010 Comments off

A November 16 article in the Virginian-Pilot carried the headline Fast-moving fires pose special risk in mobile homes. At first sight, this headline would seem another instance where the media unfairly implies negative judgment on the quality and safety of factory-built housing. But the article then quotes fire officials who say modern factory-built homes are no more susceptible to fire than houses built on site. The issue is that smaller, more confined dwellings tend to burn faster. The article notes the improvement in fire safety of post-1976 homes manufactured to the HUD code. For more on the topic, we called Foremost Insurance who put us in touch with several experts on the subject. Mike Cok, Senior Vice President of Property Products at Foremost says when you consider fire damage as a percent of the home’s value, manufactured homes can carry some added risk of fire loss given that manufactured home values are typically lower than site built housing (due to their affordability). “If a site built house and a manufactured home both sustain $10,000 of fire damage, the portion related to manufactured home value would be higher,” Cok says. “That is not the same thing as saying that fires in manufactured homes perform differently than site built, or that we have any data that suggest that there is greater frequency of fire in manufactured homes versus site built. We do not see in our data any increase in fire frequency with manufactured homes compared to site built homes.” Look for a full analysis soon at