Gunshots, lightning leave man's trailer in ruins

A Red Deer area man says a string of bad luck on a camping trip last month led to bullet holes in his trailer and an unlikely lightning strike.
Edward Smith says his camping trailer was shot and then apparently struck by lightning in a series of bizarre events. (Edward Smith)

An Alberta man is in the market for a replacement holiday trailer after a bizarre string of events on a camping trip last month.

"I just think it was a whole mess of bad luck," said Edward Smith, who lives near Red Deer.

Smith and his brother were spending a weekend in his camping trailer at one of his favourite spots north of Rocky Mountain House.

The trip was cut short on the Friday night, when Smith’s brother broke his leg. The pair left the campsite to take him to the hospital in Red Deer.

Smith says when he returned to the campsite on Friday, it was obvious that someone had been there in the meantime.

"Trailer was all shot up. About a dozen holes through it, windows all smashed out, beer bottles smashed everyplace. All four tires were shot out on the trailer."

Smith says no damage was done to the inside of the trailer.

The brothers packed up their gear and went back home. Smith made arrangements with the RCMP to investigate the shooting the following Tuesday.

When he drove out to the site with the RCMP officer that day, through a heavy thunderstorm, Smith arrived to find his trailer in even worse shape.


'It just didn't seem real'

"Smoke was coming from there, and I could see a small flame about the size of a campfire," Smith said.

"It was just a pile of ashes, basically. The walls were burnt off. The roof was gone. Propane bottle on fire ... It just didn't seem real, really, that any of this was going on."

Initially, they thought the vandals had come back to destroy the trailer. But Smith says there is only one road out of the campsite and they didn’t pass anyone suspicious on the way in.

They believe that lightning must have struck the trailer and started the fire shortly before they arrived.


Evidence destroyed

Smith says they spent about 45 minutes taking pictures of the scene and found a few .22 caliber shells.

However, since the fire destroyed most of the evidence and the rain washed away any tire tracks around the trailer, Smith isn’t too hopeful that anyone will be caught.

"It would be nice if they did, but I don’t know how."

He says the trailer was insured and he’s now looking to have it replaced.

Despite everything that happened, Smith says he plans to return to the same spot when he gets his replacement trailer.