The sound heard around the campground near York, Va., was something like a “ka-boom,” the Virginia Gazette reported.
Then cries for help came from the RV on fire Friday night (May 25) at the KOA site near Newman Road. Michael Frankenthaler, 44, who was having dinner with his family nearby, immediately ran to the scene along with his cousin, Steve Long, and another man, Jeff Wagner. Inside the RV were a man and a woman along with their two grandchildren, one boy and one girl.
Fellow campers helped get three of the family members, who all suffered burns, out of the RV but there was no sign of the boy. He was discovered a short distance up a hill, also with second- and third-degree burns. Frankenthaler, who is a doctor, had the victims wrapped in wet towels to ease the burn wounds.
More campers came out to help, and Frankenthaler said they worked to make sure the burn victims did not go into shock by talking to them and keeping them conscious.
“You could look at their fingers and hands and tell they were badly burned,” Frankenthaler said. Long, of Fayetteville, N.C., and Wagner — who’s stationed at Andrew Air Force Base in Maryland — are both active-duty military service members and helped get the flames out with fire extinguishers on the RV.
Long said the rescuers had to think quickly in the moments after the explosion.
“It’s instinctive,” Long said. “I think you worry about what needs to be done.”
Medics arrived and transported all four victims to VCU Medical Center in Richmond with injuries that were considered life-threatening.The boy was brought to the hospital via Nightingale helicopter because of the extent of his injuries.
The victims’ identities have not been released by the York Fire Department.Their conditions were not released either, but Frankenthaler said he was told they were all recovering Sunday afternoon. Firefighters said a preliminary investigation showed that a propane leak caused the blaze.
The campground sponsored a weekend fundraiser for the victims, and on Sunday afternoon, a sign posted on the grounds said $550 had been raised on their behalf.