Camper Killed in Ontario Campground Blast
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A Vanier man is dead after an explosion and fire ripped through his trailer at the Riverside-Cedar campground in Morrisburg, Ontario, Wednesday night (June 16).
Emergency crews found Conrad Tougas, 61, outside the trailer shortly after it caught fire at about 9 p.m. Constable Mark Evans said the primary cause of his death was smoke inhalation, according to the Ottawa Citizen.
Tougas shared the trailer with his wife, Collette Tougas, who was not at the campsite.
“I don’t know what happened, I don’t know what happened,” said a distraught Tougas when reached at her home in Vanier Thursday.
Campers said it sounded like a bomb had gone off.
“I haven’t heard anything like that since I was in the forces,” said ex-military member Vernon Arnold.
“After I heard the explosion, I prayed to God there was nobody inside,” Arnold said.
Investigators and officials from the fire marshal’s office are continuing to pore over the scene to determine the cause of the incident. They are being assisted by the Ontario Provincial Police and officials from the Technical Standards and Safety Association, which inspects fuel safety.
There is speculation the explosion was caused by a leak in Tougas’s propane tank, a standard feature on camping trailers.
“The only thing in a trailer that could cause an incident of this magnitude would be a leak, or other problem, with the propane,” said Ron Blackburn, owner of RV dealership Ottawa Camping.
The incident has left some campers at the site shaken.
“You want to know your camper is safe,” said Susan Loach. “This kind of accident could happen to anyone.
“It’s so sad.”
Tougas was a longtime camper at Riverside-Cedar, which is on the banks of the St. Lawrence River just outside Morrisburg. It is the St. Lawrence Parks Commission’s largest RV Park, with 301 camping spaces.
Park officials have refused to comment on the case until the investigation is complete.
The Maison Funéraire and Chapelle Funeral Home in Casselman confirmed they are handling the arrangements for a memorial service for Tougas.