Elderly Coombs resident badly burned in trailer fire

An 84-year-old Coombs man suffered severe burns and smoke inhalation after his trailer caught fire Friday morning.

An 84-year-old Coombs man was rushed to hospital with severe burns and smoke inhalation after his trailer caught fire Friday morning.

An 84-year-old Coombs man was rushed to hospital with severe burns and smoke inhalation after his trailer caught fire Friday morning.

An 84-year-old Coombs man was rushed to hospital with severe burns and smoke inhalation after his trailer caught fire Friday morning.

Oceanside RCMP Corporal Jesse Foreman said police received a call about a trailer fire in the 1600 block of Alberni Highway in Coombs at 7 a.m.

When firefighters from Dashwood, Coombs and Errington arrived on scene, the trailer in the Pires Mobile Park was completely engulfed in flames.

Trailer park owner Gabriel Pires said the man had lived in the trailer park for almost 14 years.

Neighbour Barbara Wagar was one of the first people on the scene as she began ferrying her children to be picked up for school.

“I’ve known old Steve since the kids were babies,” she said. “Another neighbour found him laying outside on the ground beside his car. Flames were shooting out of the roof. It was very scary.”

The neighbour, she said, managed to get the man into a chair and wrap him in a blanket.

“He was scorched black all the way down one side,” Wagar said. “He was breathing and coherent and he knew his name, but he was in really bad shape for someone who was almost 90.”

Her daughter, Amanda, was also on the scene and she used her training in the Qualicum Beach Fire Boot Camp last year to inform the other children about what was going on.

“I saw flames coming out of the roof and we ran to the landlord and pounded on the door,” she said. “I came back and saw the car catch fire. I told the others that if the car blows they should get on the ground because their could be shrapnel.”

Her brother, Jonathan, was with her.

“Some time between 7 and 8 a.m. I saw a light out of the corner of my eye and didn’t think much of it,” he said. “Then I realized it was a fire, so we ran to alert the landlord and banged on his door.”

The injured man was rushed to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation and severe burns.

“He was going to be airlifted, but that didn’t work out because of the weather,” Foreman said. “He was conscious and breathing, but suffering from smoke inhalation and some pretty severe burns.”

Foreman said the man was in stable condition. Because the man lived alone in the trailer, there were no other injuries.

“The trailer is completely done,” Foreman said. “His truck was damaged as well and a neighbouring trailer had some siding melted.”

The cause of the fire is yet to be determined, but Foreman said there doesn’t appear to be any suspicion of foul play.


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