Residents were able to escape a blaze that fully engulfed and ravaged a Mill Bay home Saturday afternoon, according to fire officials.
Mill Bay Fire Chief Ron Beck says firefighters got the call just after 3 p.m. following a report of a structure fire on Arbutus Terrace off Inlet Drive.
“When we arrived on scene, the house was fully involved. It’s completely destroyed,” Beck said in an interview.
Video footage captured in North Saanich amid the blaze and sent to CHEK News showed black smoke spewing into the sky above Mill Bay.
Beck said more than two dozen firefighters were called in to help.
“We had multiple halls attend. We had Shawnigan Lake mutual aid with us and Cowichan Bay mutual aid,” he said. “We probably had around 30 to 35 firefighters.”
Beck summed it up as a busy call that saw crews working to fully extinguish hotspots well into 3 a.m. Sunday.
“It took a while,” he explained.
But things could have turned out much worse, Beck noted. That’s because the blaze started spreading to the nearby bush when fire crews first arrived.
“We’re darn lucky we didn’t have wind that time of day or it could have been a different scenario,” Beck said.
“It’s funny because we usually experience at least 10 to 15-kilometre wind around that time of day. If that happened, the fire would have been well into the bush and we would have had a wildfire situation on our hands.”
Beck said although the residents are now displaced, the two people inside the house at the time of the fire got out OK.
“They both were transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries,” he said. “A couple burns and stuff like that.”
Four pets also resided in the home, including two cats and two dogs named Todd and Butch.
“We had one dog that got out of the house and they found it on the beach. We’re still looking for the other one,” Beck added.
The Find Lost & Escaped Dog Vancouver Island (FLED) Facebook group posted about the missing dogs on Saturday night, saying Todd was found but Butch is still missing.
In a Sunday update, FLED confirmed that Butch was found deceased.
“We were so hoping we would never have to post this, but unfortunately, Butch did not get out…” the group said. “We are so so sorry for this family, and we send all our prayers.”
The fire remains under investigation with the cause unknown at this time.