Residents of a Central Saanich home have been displaced after a fire engulfed their home early Thursday morning.
Central Saanich Fire Department received the call at about 2:30 a.m. for a residential structure fire on Stautw Road in Tsawout First Nation.
“It’s a complete loss,” said Central Saanich fire chief Kenn Mount. “It’s even unsafe for fire investigators to go inside the structure to investigate it.”
Displaced residents are being assisted by the Peninsula Emergency Measures Organization, according to the fire department.
When Central Saanich fire crews arrived on scene, they saw flames and heavy smoke coming from the upper level of the house. A mutual aid call was put out for support from the North Saanich and Sidney fire departments, Mount said.
Twenty-eight firefighters responded in total with 10 fire trucks, including three different engines, a water tender, a ladder truck, a squad unit, two command trucks, and one utility truck.
A squad truck first attempted a quick attack and when other units arrived, crews went into defensive mode.
“As our next units arrived, we established a dedicated water supply and we had a fully engulfed structure,” said Mount. “We went into what’s called a defensive mode and that posture is for our own firefighters’ safety where we can’t put crews inside because the fire conditions are so intense.”
After four hours of firefighting, crews successfully put out the blaze and went into fire watch mode around 6:30 a.m.
“The first hour is pretty intense,” Mount said. “The rest is dealing with hot spots and challenges of working around an unsafe structure that has unstable walls.”
The firefighting conditions were tough because of the windy and rainy weather as well, Mount said.
“It’s super wet and dark and you’ve got windy conditions as well,” he said. “The wind is kind of erratic. It’s blowing smoke around and it’s difficult to tactically approach a structure when smoke’s moving in all these different directions.”
Some crew members went through two sets of gear during firefighting efforts because they were soaked through due to the rain, he added.
Mount said the origin of the fire seems to be an upstairs bedroom, based on the amount of intense damage it had. The cause is still under investigation.
Paramedics did tend to some people on scene, according to Mount, but the extent of their injuries is not known. No firefighters were injured.
@CSaanichFire is still on scene performing overhaul from an early morning residential structure fire. Thank you to our mutual aid partners @SidneyVFire & @dns_fire as well to #PEMOESS for their assistance for the displace residents. #CSaan #inittogether https://t.co/Zno5ugt7QT
— Central Saanich Fire (@CSaanichFire) November 25, 2021