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Coombs rallies around elderly trailer fire victim

Situation is serious for 84-year-old whose trailer burned a week ago in Coombs
Margie Hall had the siding on her trailer melted from the heat of last Friday’s fire.

Neighbours and community members in Coombs are rallying around a senior who was badly burned in a trailer fire last week.

Shane Camp lives close by the Pires Mobile Park and was one of the first on the scene. While he doesn’t know the elderly victim, he’s taken it upon himself to do what he can to help.

“I saw the white smoke and then the black smoke so I put the pedal to the metal and rushed over to the trailer park to make sure everybody got out OK,” he said. “He has no insurance, so I took it upon myself to try to help.”

Camp said he has been keeping tabs on the condition of the victim, Steve Michaud, 84, and it doesn’t look good.

“He had a heart attack yesterday,” he said in an interview Thursday. “He woke up and went into shock and then had a heart attack, so they put him into an induced coma. Nobody deserves that, so as a community we need to get together to help the guy out.”

Margie Hall lives in the trailer next door to the burned out shell of Michaud’s former home. She said she didn’t know him well, because he tended to keep to himself. However, she had been concerned prior to the fire.

“I went in one time to use the phone and the place was disgusting because of all the birds,” she said. “He had free-flying canaries, the yellow ones with red cheeks, flying free all over the trailer. He had trees in his windows all tied in there so the birds could perch and he had two back bedrooms with baseball caps nailed to the walls so they could nest.”

To feed the birds, she said, Michaud would collect grass and rosehips from nearby fields.

“He would just throw them down on the living room floor and he was doing that for years, so when the trailer went, it had all this dry grass in there.”

Hall said Michaud’s injuries appeared extremely serious.

“When I found him he was black. He had no hair and his clothes were all melted into him. The skin on the back of his hands had been rubbed off,” she said. “He was lying on the other side of his car and the only reason I saw him was because he was clutching a flashlight and I was looking at the flashlight, wondering what it was, when he opened his eyes and I realized. He was so black when he opened his eyes all I could see was the white. It was awful.”

Trailer park owner Gabriel Pires said he had been told Michaud had respiratory problems along with his extensive burns and his recovery appeared touch and go.

“I heard he only had a 50-50 chance,” he said.

Camp has set up an account at the CIBC to hopefully raise funds for Michaud and he also plans to hold a beer and burger night at a local pub, along with a silent auction.

“Anyone who donates to the silent auction gets a free half hour with me on their computer,” Camp, who works as a computer technician, said. “It’s my way of helping people help me help him.”

Anyone who would like to donate items to the silent auction for Michaud can contact Camp at 250-667-1295. The bank account number for Michaud is 00740/8087083.