Fatal Camper Fire

By: Jason Lanning
By: Jason Lanning

A nine-year-old is dead after a camper fire.

It happened just before 3:00 a.m. Thursday morning on the Rockton Road exit ramp of I-90.

Fifty-two-year-old James Hinson and two of his sons were on their way to Tennessee from Washington state.

They pulled off onto the shoulder of the exit ramp to get some rest. It wasn't long after that, that the entire camper was engulfed in flames.

The Rockton Road exit ramp at I-90 remained closed through much of the day as investigators try to determine what caused this camper to catch fire.

Police say 52-year-old Keith Hinson and his 12-year-old son James were asleep in the front seat, and nine-year-old Daniel was sleeping in a top compartment.

James and Keith Hinson managed to escape, suffering minor injuries. Both are listed in fair condition at St. Anthony Medical Center.

Nine-year-old Daniel Hinson became trapped, yelling for help from an upper window, but his dad and brother couldn't get him out in time.

Investigators say a blanket or sleeping bag draped over a propane heater may have ignited the blaze. And next to the propane tank were two kerosene bottles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Counselors at St. Anthony Medical Center tell 23 News - family members are on their way to the hospital from Washington state.

Both Keith and James Hinson are expected to be released within the next couple days.

The Winnebago County sheriff's department has impounded the camper for further investigation.

At least three rifles were found inside, and there is no word yet on why the rifles were there, or why so much ammunition was being carried.


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