A Highlands home was completely destroyed by fire Wednesday morning.
The homeowner, an elderly woman, and a middle-age female tenant got themselves and their pets out of the cedar-paneled home safely in the minutes before it was engulfed in flames.
When Highlands fire fighters arrived to the property in the 3000-block of Munns Road, the house was unsalvageable and a wood shed was starting to burn. Firefighters focused their efforts on containing the blaze, to stop it from spreading to the surrounding forest or other nearby homes.
“We had difficult terrain to deal with and no water source,” said Highlands deputy fire chief Dean Ford.
Fire trucks parked at the base of a long steep driveways and attached multiple hoses together to reach the fire. Water was pumped out of a small lake on the property and was trucked in from off site.
Langford Fire Rescue responded with mutual aid and View Royal and Willis Point were also called in to assist. More than 20 firefighters helped douse the blaze. Many were on scene well into the afternoon.
Neighbours also helped out how they could, scooping water from the lake with wheelbarrows and garbage cans to pour on smaller spot fires as they sparked up.
Neighbour Joel Wilson couldn’t believe how fast the house went down.
“It was an absolutely gorgeous home,” he said. “I’m just glad everyone was OK.”
A second cedar home on the property, about six metres from the main structure, was undamaged.
Ford said there was no obvious source of the fire and that an investigation will take place in the days to come.
“The residents, I spoke with them, they had no idea how it started,” Ford said. “At this point they’re just very upset about losing their home.”
All that was left standing was the chimney and metal stairs that had led to the balcony.