Couple badly burned after motorhome explosion in Beaufort Co SC

Ralph Fermin told police he was lying in bed inside an RV in the Hunting Island State Park campgrounds last Saturday morning when his wife went to turn on the oven to prepare breakfast. Then the oven exploded.

A “large ball of fire” filled the RV, police said in a report from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.

“Ralph sprang into action when he saw his wife and ‘best friend’, Sabra, on fire from head to toe, screaming,” Sabra Fermin’s younger sister Dixie Lanier said in a GoFundMe post. “Ralph grabbed Sabra and raced through the door of the RV to the ground below to cover her to put out the fire.”

A witness who was riding an e-bike in the area at the time of the blast said he saw ‘smoke and flames billowing from the motorhome’ before a firefighter who was also camping in the area began to help the couple, according to the report. .

When firefighters arrived at the campground, Lady’s Island/St. Helena Fire District spokesman Scott Harris said they found two people, the Fermins, one with ‘lower extremity burns’ and the other with ‘significant burns as well. “. The Fermins were transported to Beaufort Memorial Hospital for treatment, Harris said. Both later transferred to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, according to Lanier’s GoFundMe post for the couple.

The couple’s daughter, known as Morgan Amelia online, said her parents had generous hearts and her mother was known to start cash in advance trends at their local Starbucks on Saturday mornings.

“Recently, while we were at the pharmacy, she paid for a gentleman’s medication, who didn’t have enough money or insurance,” she says.

The couple grew up in Beaufort and have been together since high school, according to Lanier. Ralph Fermin is a veteran of the US Marine Corps. The two are “best friends,” she said, who love camping and traveling.

In an update to the page on Tuesday, Lanier said doctors performed Ralph Fermin’s first surgery and were concerned about one of his feet which had been badly burned. Sabra Fermin is in an induced coma, according to Ralph Fermin’s sister, Caroline Fermin.

“It breaks my heart to see Sabe and Ralph go through this,” Lanier said. “They have been together since I was 6 months old and are like my parents to me. Please pray.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation, according to Lady’s Island/St. John Norton, Helena Fire District Battalion Chief.

Safety tips

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the most common place fires start in recreational vehicles and/or motorhomes is the kitchen, followed by the engine or wheel area. The NFPA advises using gas leak detectors and smoke alarms in motorhomes for fire safety.

  • Make sure your motorhome or RV has enough smoke alarms and they are tested periodically
  • Keep up-to-date gas leak detectors handy
  • Keep a working fire extinguisher accessible
  • Only one heat-producing device should be plugged into an outlet at a time.
  • All major appliances should be plugged into a wall outlet.
  • Make sure family members know at least two exits for each section of the vehicle and that windows can be opened easily.
  • Create a fire escape plan and meeting place ahead of time so family members know where to go once they escape a fire
  • Make sure all lamps, campfires, and camp heaters have been turned off before you go to bed.
  • Campfires must be at least 25 feet from anything flammable

Sofia Sanchez is a breaking news reporter at The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette. She reports on crime and develops stories in and around Beaufort. Sofia is a Cuban-American journalist from Florida and a graduate of Florida International University in 2020.

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