North Saanich Marina fire started on boat and spread to fuel dock, police believe

North Saanich Marina fire started on boat and spread to fuel dock, police believe

A man in his 50s is dead after a fire and explosion at a marina in North Saanich.

The incident happened yesterday at the North Saanich Marina at approximately 3:50 p.m. after multiple agencies received calls about a boat fire and explosions.

Two people are in hospital and a man in his 50s has died as a result of the incident according to the BC Coroners Service and BC Emergency Health Services.

The man who died was a member of the marina and was on a family outing when his Bayliner caught fire as he was untying it.

Multiple agencies attended the scene including the Sidney/North Saanich RCMP, BC Ambulance Service, North Saanich Fire Department, Sidney Volunteer Fire Department, Canadian Coast Guard, RCM-SAR 36 Sydney.

Cpl. Chris Manseau, BC RCMP media spokesperson, said on Monday that the fire does not appear to be suspicious in nature. He said investigators believe the fire started on the boat and spread to the fuel dock.

“It will take some time to determine what was the cause, but we do believe the fire started on the boat and then went to the fuel dock,” Manseau said.

According to the North Saanich Marina, the fire started on board a vessel that had just completed fuelling and was set to depart the marina.

“Local first responders did a great job isolating the fire to the fuel dock area. Unfortunately, this tragic event resulted in one fatality, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family. Local authorities are completing their investigation, so we cannot confirm any further details at this time,” said Brook Castelsky, chief operating officer of the Oak Bay Marine Group in a statement to CHEK News.

Meanwhile, Manseau said the investigation is still ongoing and will take some time, adding that the RCMP’s underwater recovery unit will be on scene within days.

“Our underwater recovery team will probably be there in a couple of days to examine that boat under the water and at some point in the near future that will be raised and then our explosive disposal unit team will also be looking at it,” he said.

BCEHS said they cannot provide further information about the individuals in hospital due to privacy reasons and the BCCS said they would not be providing any additional information on the victim at this time.

Witnesses say the explosion was incredibly loud, and smoke could be seen from as far away as Mill Bay.

“We just heard a massive kind of cannon-like explosion-like sound from our boat,” said David Beck.

Beck was with family on a sailboat and turned back to their slip at the marina. He captured video just meters away from the boat that was destroyed.

“The flames from the boat and dock were raging at that point… they were probably a couple meters high,” he said.

“Coming into the marina there you have no idea if there is going to be a secondary explosion… it was scary all around.”

A staff member who was untying the boat quickly sprung into action, shutting off the gas.

“A staff member on scene did an incredibly job in a very split second shutting off fuel and doing what you can in an emergency situation,” said Castelsky.

“There were so many great people who responded quickly.”


Nicholas PescodNicholas Pescod

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