Specialized van catches fire, explodes during camping trip
Published Monday, July 23, 2012 6:36PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, July 23, 2012 6:40PM EDT
A Cambridge family’s weekend camping trip took a devastating turn when their wheelchair-accessible van caught fire and exploded.
No one was injured in the incident, but the Lajoie family is still in shock over what could have happened.
“I haven’t been able to stop living it. It just plays over and over again in my mind…the front end was just a big ball of flames, it was just engulfed,” Dan Lajoie says.
Dan and Maggie Lajoie as well as their children and some friends were sleeping in tents at the Valens Conservation Area in Cambridge when they noticed the flames.
Everyone was able to run to safety, but Dan had to be rescued as he needs a wheelchair to get around.
“I thought I was going to die. I knew the van was on fire, I knew that it was going to be hard to get be out, I knew that it was eventually going to explode and I thought that was it.”
A fellow camper was able to carry Dan to safety just minutes before the van, which was loaded with propane tanks, exploded.
Maggie says “Things just started popping and exploding. The tires were blown, the battery, the front of the van’s just gone.”
The family has been left with no transportation and has also lost belongings and their son’s birthday presents, which were in the vehicle.
Maggie says “The list is endless. It’s bad enough when you lose your wallet, you just have to replace your ID, but we have to replace so much more than just a couple of cards of plastic.”
Nonetheless Dan says the family is just thankful that no one was hurt.
"Sometimes bad stuff happens, but we’re all safe and our family’s together and that’s what we can be thankful for.”
The cause of the blaze is still unclear, but the cost to replace the van and the family’s belongings in estimated around $60,000.
Anyone who would like to help the family is asked to contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dan Lajoie discusses the loss of his family's wheelchair-accessible van in Cambridge, Ont., Monday, July 23, 2012.
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