Saanich Fire investigating after early morning fire at rooming house


The Saanich Fire Department is investigating after a fire engulfed a rooming house and caused damage to some neighbouring buildings in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

“It was dramatic,” said Saanich Fire platoon captain David Elder. “Significant damage….We had 18 firefighters respond and five apparatus.”

According to authorities, when fire crews arrived on scene they found a fully involved structure fire at a residence in the 100-block of Battleford Avenue.

Crews arrived on scene at approximately 1:15 a.m. and battled the blaze for several hours before managing to extinguish the flames.

Dale Nelson lives in the neighborhood and said he was woken up by the sound of sirens and smell of smoke.

“It was pretty engulfed,” said Nelson. “Like this whole section up there was at least a hundred feet in flames……I’ve never seen a fire like that.”

A tenant of the house told CHEK News Wednesday morning that he was one of seven people living in the home at the time who escaped the fire unharmed.

“House was a blaze…It just went up like a roman candle,” said the tenant who wanted to remain anonymous.

The residence where the fire started sustained significant damage to the interior of the building, being completely gutted by flames, while adjacent homes were damaged as well.

While the flames were extinguished by around 3:30 a.m., crews remained on the scene into Wednesday morning as investigators assess the damage and determine the cause of the fire.

At this time, fire crews are uncertain what started the blaze. Saanich police have joined the investigation and are treating the fire as suspicious until deemed otherwise.

Two of the seven tenants told CHEK News they do not own renters insurance and lost most of their possessions in the blaze. The Saanich Emergency Program is working to provide the displaced tenants with three nights accommodation, plus food and clothing vouchers.

Kevin CharachKevin Charach

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