British Columbia

Boy pulled from burning RV at Okanagan campground

An eight-year-old boy is recovering in hospital after he was pulled from a burning motorhome by an off-duty fire chief at an RV park in Oliver, B.C., yesterday.

Off-duty fire chief smashed out back window of motorhome and dragged injured boy out

Off-duty fire chief smashed out back window and dragged boy out 2:04

An eight-year-old boy is recovering in hospital after he was pulled from a burning motorhome by an off-duty fire chief at an RV park in Oliver, B.C., yesterday.

Oliver Fire Chief Dan Skaros said he was heading to a meeting when he smelled the fire. He started driving toward the source of the smoke and arrived at the Centennial RV Park, in his shorts and flip-flops, shortly before fire crews got there.

Black smoke was billowing out of the door of the RV and several people were trying to put out the flames with a garden hose without much success when a woman arrived and said her son was inside.

Skaros picked up a wooden dowel and began smashing windows at the back of the smoke-filled RV.

"I started breaking windows to get the smoke out so that I could see. My thoughts were the bed in the back of the motorhome," he said.   Through the back window, Skaros found a boy lying unconscious on the bed.   "I just held my breath for as long as I could and leaned in and grabbed the little guy," he said. "[I] grabbed him by the shirt and the pants and dragged him out, right into the hands of the ambulance attendants, and they took him straight up to the hospital."

The boy was airlifted to the burn unit at Children's Hospital in Vancouver, where he is being treated for second-degree burns covering 40 per cent of his body.

Skaros says the rescue took less than a minute, and he says he just following his training.

"You know if it wasn't for the guys' help — you know the bystanders helping put it out — it could have been a lot worse."

In response to people who were calling him a hero, the chief said: "No... It's just what I do."

The damaged RV sits empty following Wednesday's fire. The eight-year-old boy was badly burned, and is in hospital in Vancouver. (Oliver Daily News)

With files from the CBC's Brady Strachan