September 17, 2013 - 2:51 PM
OLIVER - Its been several days since eight-year-old Cody O'Connor died at Canuck Place Children's Hospice but the impact from his death is still fresh in people's minds.
Cody was at the hospital to be treated for burns he suffered in a devastating fire on Aug. 28. He was pulled out of a burning motor home at the Centennial RV Park by off-duty fire chief Dan Skaros. Forty per cent of the boy's upper body was badly burned, Oliver Fire Department firefighter Rob Graham says.
The spirit of the small community was touched by the death with residents who didn't know the O'Connor family sharing their emotion about the news.
"I'm very, very sad," Lin Martinson says. "We are hoping it would have a different outcome."
Karen Nelson, who works in Oliver, felt the same.
"It's very sad that it happened. It's a sad situation when a little person loses their life."
Oliver Elementary School principal Barton Tumlinson says the mood has been somber at the school since the news. Students made cards for Cody and his family and there were plans to support him if he recovered.
Graham says Skaros seems to be doing fine since news of Cody's death broke. "I learned just before the weekend things hadn't gotten any better. I notified Dan before the family pulled (Cody) off life support."
He adds Oliver Fire Department members will be speaking about the incident and what happened at its training session this week.
Graham says Skaros was the first on the scene on Aug. 28 thanks to a business meeting with B.C. Ambulance Service. Skaros was only a block away from the RV park when he heard "a commotion." The fire chief followed the smoke and was told somebody was trapped inside. An RV park employee says Cody's mother, Amanda, was living in the trailer at the time. She is also an employee at the park.
Graham says normally firefighters want to attack the flames first, "but things change when somebody is inside."
The fire chief asked for help, got it, hoisted himself up and broke the trailer's rear windows taking a few scrapes in the process. Graham says the chief couldn't see anything due to the smoke.
"When he broke open the window he kinda guessed where the boy would be," Graham says. Cody was unconscious when Skaros pulled him out.
A fund has been set up to raise money for the O’Connor family. They weren’t insured and now have funeral expenses to pay for. Donations to the family can be made online at www.sharespring.ca. So far $1,885 has been raised.
Cody's family will be making arrangements to have a funeral service at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Penticton. No times have been set as of Tuesday.
To contact a reporter for this story, to send photos or videos, email Shannon Quesnel at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 250-488-3065, tweet @shannonquesnel1 or @InfoNewsPentict
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