A father and son from Thunder Bay narrowly escaped harm after a fire engulfed their motor home during a road trip.

Lauri Penttinen and his son Hannes were enroute to an air show in Oshkosh Wisconsin when they smelled smoke and stopped the vehicle.

Within seconds, their motor home was ablaze and everything they had with them was destroyed — including cell phones and wallets.

"The propane tanks and LP tanks that were within that motor home were starting to explode," said Lori Fuller, a resident nearby who caught the fire on video.

"We saw the father get out and lift up I believe the front of the motor home and steam was coming out," she said.  "And he ended up going back into the Winnebago and came out with a fire extinguisher and was crawling underneath the front passenger wheel and trying to like blow and put out the steam."

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The town of Marathon City has an all volunteer fire department, so it takes time for the firefighters to assemble, Fuller said, but they did manage to keep it under control.

Now the Penttinen family is expressing gratitude to the resident of Wisconsin for coming to their aid after the fire destroyed everything they had but the clothes on their backs. 

"A couple collected some money so that they could buy clothes, and this fellow paid for their hotel room, and the hotel has made a gift basket and provided them with a gift certificate for supper,” said Kaisa Penttinen, who was in Thunder Bay when the fire happened.

Fuller said she and her neighbours banded together to try and help the Penttinens after witnessing the fire. 

"There was a few of us who decided to take a small collection because they lost everything in the fire," she said.  "There was another neighbour of ours took took them I believe into Wausau and put them up for the evening in a hotel."