Playing with matches likely cost an eight-year-old Oliver boy his life.
Cody O’Connor died two weeks after he was trapped inside his family’s motorhome when it caught fire in an Oliver RV park on Aug. 28, 2013.
According to a coroner’s report released last week, O’Connor was often left unattended in the motorhome and on the day in question was checked on about every 30 minutes.
On an earlier date, however, the boy had been found “using matches to light a paper cup on fire at the kitchen table inside the motorhome,” so the matches were taken and hidden inside the vehicle, wrote coroner Jed Maddock.
It’s now believed O’Connor retrieved the matches and inadvertently lit the blaze that took his life.
Investigators also determined the fire started at the base of a couch behind the driver’s seat, where no accelerants were detected and no electrical wiring was present.
“Fire officials reported the fire was accidental and likely caused by matches,” Maddock concluded.
The coroner also pointed out there was no fire alarm or smoke detector in the motorhome.
O’Connor was rescued from the vehicle by Oliver fire chief Dan Skaros, who was off duty that day and just happened to be at the RV park.
Maddock said Skaros leaned into the interior of the motorhome through its broken back window and found the boy “face down on a bed and unresponsive, wearing shorts and covered in soot.”
O’Connor, who was eventually flown to B.C. Children’s Hospital, sustained burns to 20 per cent of his body and also suffered a severe brain injury due to oxygen depravation.
He succumbed to his injuries in hospital on Sept. 13, 2013, and his death has now been ruled an accident by coroner.