LAPEL, Ind. – An elderly man was killed over the weekend when his central Indiana camper caught fire.
“You just hope for a different outcome than what we got Saturday,” said Jessica Marvel, an EMT with Lapel Stony Creek Township Fire Territory.
Around 7 a.m. Saturday, a neighbor called 911 to report a camper was on fire. Authorities said that person did what they could to help.
“What we heard was that the neighbor did try to go open the door but the fire was taking over so there was nothing to be heard from the person inside,” said Marvel.
When fire crews arrived at the Glowood Campground, the camper was fully engulfed. First responders tried to get inside, but the fire was too powerful.
An 87-year-old man, the camper’s sole occupant, died. The Madison County Coroner identified the victim as John Meadows.
Officials spoke with neighbors and learned that Meadows had been staying at the campground since September.
“They just said he was a nice guy. He kept to himself,” Marvel said. “They said they took him food and made sure he was taken care of. They said there were no issues with him.”
A couple of cars parked near the camper were also damaged in the fire. Marvel, who was a first responder on the scene for this fire, said she wants to remind everyone to be prepared for an emergency.
The fatal blaze was the first deadly fire in Lapel this year, and Marvel said she hopes it’s the last.
“Have smoke detectors above every bedroom and throughout the house,” she said. “We often tell people to change the batteries when the time changes. We like to tell kids when we do public safety classes to also have an escape plan.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.