A man was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle early Thursday morning after sustaining serious burns in an RV fire at Island County Fairgrounds in Langley. Late Thursday afternoon, a hospital spokesperson said he was in serious condition and in the intensive care unit.
At 1:40 a.m., Ben Wooldridge awoke in his motorhome to find it on fire, according to Deputy Chief Jon Beck of South Whidbey Fire/EMS.
Wooldridge works part-time as a campground host at the Fairgrounds Campground, according to Stan Reeves, executive director of the Port of South Whidbey.
Wooldridge lives at the campground in his RV.
He was able to evacuate the vehicle, but his cat, Oreo, perished inside.
Nearby campers stopped Wooldridge from trying to go back in to look for his pet, Beck said.
“That was a good thing,” he said. “The burns would’ve been much worse if he’d tried to go back then.”
Beck said the flames fully engulfed the vehicle by the time firefighters arrived on scene.
A helicopter landed in the horse arena part of the fairgrounds to transport Wooldridge to Harborview, which has the only level-one trauma and burn center in the state.
Seven firefighters responded with three engines; it took around 45 minutes to fully extinguish the flames, Beck said. Personnel were on scene for about two hours.
Beck said the cause is suspected to have been electrical, but that wasn’t confirmed by press time.
Officials don’t believe the fire was intentionally started.
The fire didn’t damage the car parked behind the RV or anything else nearby. The motorhome was a total loss.
Wooldridge also works at the Useless Bay Country Club.
“Ben is well known and well liked in the South Whidbey community,” Reeves said in an email. “We are deeply saddened by this incident and wish Ben a speedy recovery.”
A GoFundMe page was created to raise money for Wooldridge.