Enormous blaze torches golf cart storage facility on Vancouver Island

Several concerns for firefighters upon arrival with the conditions, severity of fire

A wall of flame, accompanied by huge plumes of thick, black smoke that soared into the sky and could be seen for miles, torched a golf cart storage facility at the Mount Brenton Golf Club in Chemainus Wednesday afternoon.

Needless to say, it was “fully involved,” Chemainus Fire Department Chief Al Irwin said when his crews arrived, with assistance from the Crofton and Ladysmith departments.

The enormity of the fire created several concerns for firefighters before tackling it.

“I’m not sure what’s in there for timbers,” noted Irwin.

“Lots of plastic in there and stuff,” he added.

On top of that, the carts themselves were a mixture of electric and gas, and the hydro wasn’t even shut off, Irwin noted, as firemen began their assault on the blaze.

Tires on the carts could be heard popping amid the loud crackle of the fire.

“We were initially a little concerned about the houses on the other side of the road as well,” Irwin added.

And then there were the numerous trees surrounding the facility. Some upper branches caught fire but, fortunately, conditions are not yet that dry, so the Ladysmith ladder truck, stationed on the side of the Henry Road hill, pumped water to put out the hotspots.

Firemen brought the entire situation down from an inferno to a smoldering rubble rather quickly, considering the conditions.

“We got some wind today, it doesn’t help,” reasoned Irwin.

The time of day, with the call coming in at 3:48 p.m., left the Chemainus department without a full complement of personnel. About 20 Chemainus firefighters attended, and Irwin and deputy chief Kevin Millard just got back from an ammonia course in Duncan when the call went out.

There’s plenty of speculation about the cause, from the battery chargers used for the karts to the gas that powers some of the vehicles to sparks in the back corner of the building from the hydro. But it’s so badly burned, the cause will probably never be definitely determined, Irwin indicated, and an excavator was brought in to level the remnants of the building.

“It’s the only way to take it apart,” Irwin explained at the scene. “We can’t go in. It’s too unsafe.”

No one was inside the facility at the time and there were no injuries to anyone in the vicinity or the firemen.

Some nearby cars were parked in harm’s way, but managed to elude any extensive damage.

Hordes of people gathered in the vicinity to take pictures or document the scene on video, but Irwin was pleased everyone steered clear.

“We haven’t had that much attention for a while,” he said. “Everybody was really good.”

Frequent calls are keeping the Chemainus department on its toes.

“We have been so busy since November,” noted Irwin.

That’s included two other major fires at a house on Waynes Road in December and the Jones Marine fire on the Chemainus waterfront earlier this year.

 

Massive amounts of flame and smoke burst out from kart storage facility. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Massive amounts of flame and smoke burst out from kart storage facility. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP tape off Langford law office sent suspicious substance last month

No confirmation as to why police were back at Hemminger Law Group Monday afternoon

Meet Your Candidates: Six candidates running for four spots on View Royal council

Candidates outline how they would make View Royal a better place

BC SPCA sees successful weekend from adoption sales

On Saturday animal shelters across the province reduced their adoption fees

Central Saanich will allow police officers to use pot

Marijuana use by officers not allowed 24 hours before duty

Campers near Saanich municipal hall await response from transportation ministry

MOTI expected to decide Monday when campers need to leave

Advance voting begins Oct. 10 in Greater Victoria

The polls open at 8 a.m. for the 2018 municipal election with the general election taking place Oct. 20

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

Trump: Saudi king ‘firmly denies’ any role in Khashoggi mystery

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is travelling to the Middle East to learn more about the fate of the Saudi national

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65

Allen died in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Canada doesn’t currently require seatbelts on school buses

Sockeye run in Shuswap expected to be close to 2014 numbers

Salute to the Sockeye on Adams River continues until Sunday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m.

Michelle Mungall’s baby first in B.C. legislature chamber

B.C. energy minister praises support of staff, fellow MLAs

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

Most Read