'Never be the same': Family still recovering from Veyo fire

Scene of a fire that engulfed a bus converted into a traveling home, Veyo, Utah, Dec. 28, 2021.

Scene of a fire that engulfed a bus converted into a traveling home, Veyo, Utah, Dec. 28, 2021. (Amanda Hawley)

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ST. GEORGE — More than a week after a fire in Veyo engulfed a city bus converted by a family of six into a traveling home, three of the family members remain hospitalized in Las Vegas. The youngest son remains on a ventilator, while the father and oldest daughter underwent surgeries Wednesday at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas.

The cause of the fire, which took place late Dec. 27, has not been determined. However, a family statement indicates a propane leak was heard before the fire. The Utah State Fire Marshal has taken over the investigation.

According to a statement online by the mother, Whitney Copeland, the father, Kyle Copeland, recently came off a ventilator and during surgery, Wednesday, was having cadaver skin removed from his hands in favor of skin grafts. He has bandages over his face and one eye remains too swollen for him to see.

According to witnesses, Kyle Copeland went back into the bus to rescue two of his kids who remained trapped in the flames. His wife said he was able to talk with her about going back in the bus.

"Kyle kept saying how he knows his role was to get the kids out, that he showed up as a dad, and dads protect," Whitney Copeland said. "Kyle said that he ran through the flames to run to the back of the bus and he saw (the kids) both standing in the back of the bus in between the bunk beds. Kyle scooped (his son) into his arms. Then turned to (his daughter), who was stunned. Kyle then put her in the tightest head lock he could and turned towards the flames. In that moment he says, 'it was as if I was looking right into hell.'"

Read the full article at St. George News.

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