Rescue dogs

Northern Alberta man suffers 2nd degree burns while trying to save dogs from burning trailer – Edmonton

A northern Alberta family shares their heartbreaking story after having to escape a trailer fire. While parents and children were able to get out, not everyone did.

It was a night that Apryl and Steven McDonald will never forget.

“I looked out the (window), I see my baby sleeping in the crib with the flames through the window behind him, the thick smoke,” said mother-of-two Apryl McDonald.

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It was supposed to be a summer filled with family fun by the lake.

In May, the McDonald’s and their two young children moved with everything they had to a community on Lesser Slave Lake, three hours north of Edmonton. Then early Thursday morning, just a month after moving in, devastation struck.

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“I woke up in a daze,” said Steven McDonald. “I went to open the door of my motorhome and the whole side of the trailer was already on fire.”

In a panic, the McDonald’s grabbed their children and ran away.

“If I had slept five more minutes, I don’t know if we would have made it,” Apryl said.

But Steven soon realized that not everyone was safe.

“Our dogs didn’t follow us out of the RV and the door was already on fire,” he said.

Steven said he rushed over and tried to open the burning door, but couldn’t.

“By then it was too late, I couldn’t open the door…I couldn’t get them out.

The flames were too strong and Steven suffered second degree burns in the process.

“The flames… they burned from my forearms to the top of my shoulder, caught the back of my neck and my face,” he said.

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Firefighters arrived and extinguished the fire. The fire is believed to have started near the refrigerator.

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Steven now has to go to the doctor every day to have his dressings changed.

He said that although the burns hurt, the physical pain doesn’t compare to the emotional pain he and his wife are feeling now, after losing their pets and possessions.

“Everything we used basically burned down in that fire,” he said.

The family have received some support from friends and family, but say they are far from recovering what they have lost. A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family, with a goal of raising $10,000.