Central Saanich Fire Department as well as crews from Sidney and North Saanich responded to this fire early Wednesday morning in the 7200-block of Norman Lane. (Carole Francoeur/Facebook)

Central Saanich Fire Department as well as crews from Sidney and North Saanich responded to this fire early Wednesday morning in the 7200-block of Norman Lane. (Carole Francoeur/Facebook)

House near Brentwood Bay ferry still ‘standing’ despite extensive damage: fire chief

Kenn Mount said almost 25 crews responded to fire in 7200 block of Norman Lane near ferry terminal

Close to 25 firefighters from across the Saanich Peninsula and almost of all of Central Saanich’s heavy vehicles responded to a substantial fire in the Brentwood Bay neighbourhood Wednesday that caused extensive damage to an older house that nonetheless might have fared better than its modern contemporaries.

Central Saanich Fire Department Kenn Mount said crews started responding to the 7200-block of Norman Lane near the Brentwood Bay Ferry Terminal at around 5:55 a.m. after receiving a single 911 call. A neighbour observed smoke coming out of a nearby, unoccupied house, whose owners are currently planning their return from the Lower Mainland.

It took crews about 90 minutes to knock down the fire and another 90 minutes to mop up, said Mount, adding that the fire generated a lot of heat.

“The house is still standing,” he said. “We were able to (conduct) an interior aggressive attack. We did need help from our neighbours in Sidney and North Saanich and we did have a motor vehicle incident come in at the same time. So definitely a challenging morning for us.”

Mount added that the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

“It looks like it started in the wall between the kitchen and the bedroom,” he said. “That is as far as I can get right now. Whether it is related to some sort of older heating equipment or not, I don’t know yet.”

RELATED: Firefighters from North Saanich, Central Saanich and Sidney respond to fire in middle of snow storm

The age of the house — which Mount dates back to the 1940s — assisted firefighters.

“(It) could have been burning for a bit, based upon the damage,” he said. “The house filled up pretty good. It was hot. Visibility was poor when we got there but all in all I think the house is salvageable. “

Two rooms and part of the attic suffered significant damage, he said, adding a part of the ceiling collapsed.

“(But) we were able to contain to a couple of rooms. Otherwise, from the street level the house looks in good shape … this is an older house still standing strong. I love these old homes. They hold up and fight back.”

Mount said five large apparatus, some five smaller ones helped fight the fire with somewhere between 23 and 24 firefighters on site. He later estimated that 80 per cent of the department’s large apparatus responded to the scene.

“We were lucky this didn’t happen last week with all the snow,” said Mount.

Crews from Sidney and North Saanich also responded to the incident with North Saanich’s water tender diverted to deal with what turned out to be an abandoned vehicle near Highway 17 near Island View Beach. It had initially come in as a much more serious incident.

“We were kind of lucky there that we didn’t have to stretch our crews. It is one of the strange things of the business. It’s unpredictable at times. We call it the witching hour. Everything tends happen all at once.”


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wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Saanich Peninsula

 

It took crews about 90 minutes to suppress this fire in the 7200-block of Norman Lane in Central Saanich, another 90 minutes to mop up. (Kenn Mount/Central Saanich Fire Department)

It took crews about 90 minutes to suppress this fire in the 7200-block of Norman Lane in Central Saanich, another 90 minutes to mop up. (Kenn Mount/Central Saanich Fire Department)

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