Same issue in 2.14. I think the filesystem just crashes silently if there are is not enough heap or too few variables.
A webserver serving multiple files in parallel can crash the filesystem, or a webserver and some other background processes can lead to a crash (using E.pipe).
It doesn't crash by repeated read access, if there's a sufficient free memory available. Storage is much more stable (require('Storage')).
Disclaimer: My experience comes from the ESP8266 with a custom firmware build. Yet, I'm pretty sure there are some undiscovered bugs in the filesystem (require('fs')).
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