Air Force vet loses everything after motor home purchased on Craigslist explodes

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by Christine LaCroix / AZ Family

khou.com

Posted on January 23, 2013 at 12:47 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 23 at 12:48 AM

PHOENIX -- Thomas Graley was driving a newly purchased motorhome down the street when flames shot through the floor.

"I was coming down the road and the engine just caught on fire," Graley said.

"All of the sudden flames just started coming out of the pedals," added Graley's wife, Candy.

The Graleys have been down on their luck. Air Force veteran Thomas Graley lost his job when the cellphone company he worked for merged with another company. They bought the motorhome so they would have a place to live as well as a vehicle.

"They foreclosed on my house and repoed my car so we bought this so I would have someplace to live," he said with tears in his eyes.

The Air Force veteran was able to sift through the rubble of the vehicle to salvage a few personal belongings, but nearly everything he owned was destroyed in the fire.

The Graleys found the motorhome listed on Craigslist.

"It seemed like a good vehicle for the price," Thomas Graley said.

The couple excitedly handed over their life savings of $1,000 to the Craigslist seller to purchase the motorhome so they could drive to Ohio to visit their daughter, who is due to give birth in February.

"He said that it ran good and that it was road worthy and would make it to Ohio," Candy Graley said.

Instead, the motorhome made it just a few miles before catching fire.

The Graleys have attempted to contact the seller numerous times with no response.

Unfortunately, the Graleys probably do not have much legal recourse, according to Phoenix attorney Brent Kleinman.

"Most likely he won’t be able to get any of his money back," Kleinman said.

Kleinman said because the transaction occurred between two private parties, the seller did not have a duty to find defects in the motorhome.

"You're buying that vehicle as is," Kleinman said. "The only recourse you have is if they try to intentionally deceive you."

Thomas Graley said because the motorhome was brand new, it was not insured yet. So he believes he will be out his home, his vehicle and the money he spent to purchase the motorhome.

"It was a thousand dollars," he said. "To other people it may seem like a small amount, but to us it was everything we had."

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