Three people managed to escape and five people are displaced following a fire that tore through a home near Chemainus and a nearby trailer Wednesday morning.
The North Cowichan Fire Department was called to the fire on the Stz’uminus First Nation reserve number 11 shortly before nine o’clock.
A neighbour says the fire started quickly and appeared to have started on the home’s porch.
“All of a sudden I heard screaming so me and my niece jumped up and the porch was already, it was like somebody went and threw a gas can on there and just blew it right up. That’s how fast it started,” said Catherine Gibson, a neighbour and relative of the fire victims.
For much of the day Chemainus Road was closed after firefighters started battling the fire at the Squaw-Hay-One Road home.
“When we got here the structure was fully involved. I had flames shinning up both sides and out the roof as well as the trailer adjacent,” said Chemainus Fire Hall Chief Paul Windsor, of the North Cowichan Fire Department.
Firefighters immediately took defensive positions as they started fighting the fire.
“Due to the fire aggression and behaviour so all firefighters were outside fighting the fire from the outside,” said Windsor.
Three of the home’s four occupants were home and had to escape.
“My sister had to run through the flames to get out,” said Gibson. “She ran right through the porch. She was saying her son had to jump out the window.”
BC Ambulance took a third person from the home who was having trouble breathing to hospital.
It was almost exactly five years ago when an eerily similar scene happened when a fire destroyed the neighbouring house with a number of the same family members living in it.
“I’ve been crying here because that’s the second house they lost and that’s how the other house caught fire, outside. There was nobody outside. I don’t understand that,” said Gibson.
Because it’s on First Nation land the RCMP will oversee the investigation into the cause.