‘It happened so fast’: 81-year-old escapes uninjured from Errington fire


Fred Buott still managed to smile Saturday as he looked through what was left of his Errington home.

“Well, I’m glad to be alive,” said Buott. “It happened so fast. I don’t know how it happened.”

The blaze broke out in the mobile home on Alberni Highway 4A near Church Road at 1 p.m. Friday. It had volunteer firefighters racing to the scene of a close-knit community of modular homes, where the fire could have easily spread.

READ MORE: Modular home in Errington heavily damaged by fire, leaving one person displaced

“I was out at the back gate locking it, when I could see smoke coming out of the steps in the back,” said Buott.

According to Errington Deputy Fire Chief George Klemm, the 81-year-old was fortunate to be outside when it started.

“Totally lucky to be outside, a modular home like that does have a tendency of going up pretty quick,” said Klemm.

Viewer submitted video shows how quickly the fire roared through Buott’s rented home of six years.

“I got a feeling it might have been in the walls. It’s a possibility,” said Buott.

However, the cause of the fire isn’t clear.

“We’re still investigating at this point, trying to figure out where the origin is. We have some ideas of where approximately it started, but it’s going to take some time,” said Klemm.

Yet in the rubble that was his home, the senior found his prized violin. Locked safe in its box, Buott said it was unburned by the inferno around it, and to recover it after losing everything else — meant the world.

“Priceless,” said Buott.

Yet, in a strike of good fortune out of this loss, Errington’s friendly and well-known fixture, who earns his living picking bottles and cans, has already been offered a new apartment close by.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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