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'Pick yourself up and keep going': Comox Valley father, 2 sons escape trailer fire

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A father and his two young sons are safe after fleeing a burning trailer in Courtenay on Tuesday morning.

Eric Malley says he could smell smoke shortly after 6 a.m. and quickly realized he was going to have trouble exiting the trailer.

A father and his two young sons are safe after fleeing a burning trailer in Courtenay on Tuesday morning. (CTV News)

“I smelled the smoke and looked back and knew there was too much fire to go that way so I opened the back window to get the kids out – that’s all that matters,” Malley said.

They escaped through an emergency window at the rear of the travel trailer.

“Luckily, the spare tires for the Jeep were stacked there so my five-year-old… I could throw him out the window," the father said.

Getting his seven-year-old out proved more complicated because he was in a cast from a recent ski accident.

“I kind of fell out of the window as I got him onto the tires so he didn’t really land very hard on them and then I crawled out and carried him to neighbours,” Malley said.

The trio fled with only the clothes on their back.

“I don’t have a phone right now, phone’s gone, keys are gone, wallet's gone," he said.

The fleeing occupants also included the Malleys' black and white cat named "Tuxedo."

"The cat's all good, still as friendly as ever, but with burnt whiskers" Malley said.

The Malleys have been in the trailer for just under two years while they are in the process of moving to the Comox Valley from Alberta.

There is a house near the trailer on the same property but it was heavily damaged when a tree fell on it and cannot be lived in, according to a neighbour.

Eric’s wife was on a flight from Alberta when the fire broke out. He said he’ll have to break the news to her from a borrowed phone.

A father and his two young sons are safe after fleeing a burning trailer in Courtenay on Tuesday morning. (CTV News)

Courtenay deputy fire operations chief George Seigler says the family was out of the trailer when crews arrived, but there were hazards on the property.

“We did have the vehicles there, that was a concern," Seigler said. "We did have several 20-pound and 30-pound propane cylinders."

The trailer was destroyed and the investigation has begun into the cause.

“The area of origin is outside the trailer near the fridge so we have an idea what caused the fire but we will do an investigation just to confirm” he said.

None of the occupants suffered any smoke inhalation and were checked out by Emergency Health Services who have put the family up in a Courtenay hotel.

Malley is not sure if his trailer will be covered by insurance because it was registered in Alberta.

“They’re material things. Yeah, there’s memories, there’s toys, there’s clothes. What do you do?" he said.

"You can be down and out about it or you can pick yourself up and keep going."

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