Salt Spring Fire Rescue crews responded to a fully involved house fire on Sunday afternoon.
Crews from all three fire halls fought the fire on Wildwood Crescent from approximately 2 p.m. until around 9 p.m. The home was engulfed in flames by the time crews arrived on scene. There were no occupants home at the time of the fire, and no injuries reported.
“Smoke was visible very early on from the crews that were responding. It was definitely well-developed upon our arrival,” said Salt Spring Fire Chief Arjuna George.
Twenty-five SSIFR members were on scene fighting the fire, and nine pieces of apparatus were used. The call interrupted a training exercise on the north end of the island and those members were able to be on scene quickly. Also assisting were the RCMP, BC Hydro, BC Ambulance and the Salt Spring Island Emergency Program.
Crews were on scene for around seven hours and were able to salvage some contents of the house.
“It’s pretty tough when it is going that much to save anything, but we did manage to salvage most of the contents in the lower suite,” George said. “We took out all of the family’s precious stuff that was saveable and the family is very appreciative of that.”
Crews used around 50,000 gallons to extinguish the fire. Water was shuttled in using tender trucks to due to insufficient flow rate in the fire hydrant on scene. The fight was helped by the rain, which kept the flames from spreading to the nearby brush and trees.
“If this happened maybe two weeks ago we’d have a different story,” George said. “There was very close brush and tons of cedar trees nearby. The interface was there, but we lucked out with a moderate fire danger risk and the rain during the fire.”
The scene is currently under investigation and has been barricaded off until the cause of the fire is determined. SSIFR will also help salvage any remaining belongings from the house.
“We can’t really access most of it yet, because it is not really safe to enter the premises right now,” George said. “We’re going to do the investigation and then probably have to mediate the second floor to make sure it’s safe to go in there and try to salvage some of the stuff.”
Salt Spring is currently under a complete fire ban, as well as a moderate forest fire danger level, which was helped by last week’s rain.
For more on this story, see the September 12, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.