Updated: Sept. 17
In a quiet garden, under the late summer sun, the eight-year-old Oliver boy pulled from a burning motorhome nearly three weeks ago passed away peacefully Friday, with family members by his side.
On life support, Cody O’Connor had been moved to Canuck Place from BC Children’s Hospital earlier in the day.
His father, Ramsey, mother, Amanda, and grandmother, Pearl De Prez, were among those with him.
“They had put his bed out in the garden, it was just such a beautiful day and got him settled in before they pulled the lung machine away,” said De Prez.
“But as soon as they took it away, it was almost as if it was his last breath and that was all.”
Cody was rescued from the family motorhome parked in the Centennial RV Park by off-duty fire chief Dan Skaros of the Oliver Volunteer Fire Department Aug. 28.
Initially, the boy reportedly had serious burns (40 per cent of his upper body) but the injuries were thought to be non-life-threatening.
De Prez said that changed shortly afterwards and on Sept. 9 his heart stopped beating.
While doctors revived him it appeared he had suffered a severe brain injury.
Two days later they took him off life support but the results only confirmed the diagnosis.
“Finally, they decided it’s just not going to work, he’s fought it long enough,” said De Prez.
“The hardest part was that he just looked so good until the very end.
“I’m seeing him in the bed and I’m thinking why, why does he have to die.
“He was a smiley, happy kid, very affectionate, he’d come out of nowhere and say, ‘I love you grandma’ or he’d say, ‘you know, you’re a good grandma.’”
On behalf of the family she thanked the people of the community for their support and compassion and once again the courageous work of fire chief Skaros.
“Without him (Skaros) we would we not have had Cody for these last two-and-a-half weeks,” said De Prez
“I know he said he was just doing his job but that was so much more.”
Rob Graham of the fire department issued a release saying the thoughts and prayers of its members were with the family.
“It’s sad, especially for us who have children the same age, it really makes you think about things and your heart really goes out to the family,” he said.
Vice-principal Karen Sinclair of Oliver Elementary School where Cody attended last year and was going into Grade 3, said all were saddened the news. Counselling is available for staff and students.
A celebration of Cody’s life will take place Thursday at the Penticton Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at 1 p.m.
The public is welcome and are asked to wear bright colours.
Two trust funds have been set up to help the family and donations can be made at any RBC branch; Cody O’Connor Family Trust (cash or draft only) to account number 04080-003-5000567 or online at http://www.sharespring.ca/campaigns/cody-o-conner-support-fund.
Posted Sept. 16
Last Friday, eight-year-old Cody O’Connor succumbed to burn injuries he suffered in a recreational vehicle fire at the Centennial RV Park in Oliver, B.C., Aug. 28.
The boy, pulled from the burning motorhome by Oliver Fire Chief Dan Skaros, suffered second-degree burns to 40 per cent of his body, said Rob Graham, firefighter and media officer for the OVFD.
For more on this story see Wednesday’s Western News