Hero dad thought he’d saved both sons from burning caravan – but only rescued one

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·3-min read
Harley, left, and Zac, right, before the fire that claimed Zac's life. (SWNS)
Harley, left, and Zac, right, before the fire that claimed Zac's life. (SWNS)

A father who thought he had saved both his sons from a caravan blaze was devastated to discover he had only rescued one.

Brothers Zac and Harley Harvey, then three and four, were staying at their dad Shaun's caravan for a sleepover in January, when an accidental fire broke out.

He risked his life and battled through smoke and flames in a bid to rescue both boys – and grabbed what he thought were two arms and headed to safety.

But when he was finally able to see, he discovered he was holding Harley's arm and leg.

His actions saved Harley, and despite being severely injured, he battled to get back to Zac, but it was too late and the fire was too intense.

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Harley recovering following the blaze that claimed his brother's life. (SWNS)
Harley's mum Erin sits with him in hospital as he recovered from his injuries. (SWNS)
Harley's mum Erin sits with him in hospital as he recovered from his injuries. (SWNS)

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the fire, which was accidental and not believed to be caused by the actions of any of the family.

Reflecting on the devastating incident, Zac and Harley's mum Erin, 28, from Ffair Rhos near Pontrhydfendigaid, Wales, told the Real Fix podcast: "Shaun had come out of the caravan, and he was holding Harley's arm and Harley's leg.

"He thought that he was holding both Harley and Zac.

"It wasn't until he was out of the caravan and going into the house carrying Harley that he realised that it wasn’t Zac, it was just Harley.

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Zac Harvey died in the accidental blaze at the caravan. (SWNS)
Zac died in the accidental blaze at the caravan. (SWNS)

"His family said that he tried to go back into the caravan to get Zac, but it was totally engulfed in flames by this point."

Harley and his dad were taken to hospital, but Erin, who co-parents with Shaun, was told the police were on their way to her home.

When the police arrived 40 minutes later, they told her Zac had passed away.

She recalled: “I just fell to the ground, and was just shouting and screaming and then all of a sudden there were just all these questions.”

Harley was initially in a coma at hospital before beginning his road to recovery. (SWNS)
Harley was initially in a coma at hospital before beginning his road to recovery. (SWNS)
Harley is now on the mend at home after the blaze. (SWNS)
Harley is now on the mend at home after the blaze. (SWNS)

She rushed to Harley's bedside and was told he had a slim chance of survival, due to the extensive burns he had suffered, and he was in coma.

However, he eventually woke – but couldn’t speak due to the burns and damage to his lungs.

Harley is now recovering well, and is being supported by all his family.

Erin said: “I think he’s even cheekier than he was before – he’s just doing so well.

“He takes everything in his stride. He handles it much better than I could have myself.”

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