Oily rags catch fire, burn Langford home

Home renovation project requires start over after blaze

A Langford family continues to regroup after fire damaged much of the upper floor of the home they were renovating on Willshire Drive off Sooke Road.

The fire, which burned intensely but was extinguished by Langford Fire Rescue crews in about half an hour in the early hours of Aug. 8, was believed to have started from the “spontaneous combustion” of rags covered in wood stain that had been placed in a bag together.

Family members had been working on staining the kitchen cupboards and had gone to bed Friday night after cleaning up, said Langford Fire Assistant Chief Chris Aubrey.

“They were pretty surprised that (stored rags) could cause that to happen,” he said. “But that can happen anytime you’re using oils. A person has to be cautious of how you store them.”

Five occupants were in the house at the time of the fire. One son awoke to the sound of the smoke alarm, while the others were roused by the sound of the fire, Aubrey said. The three younger residents got out through a doorway, while the parents were forced to jump from a second-storey window. They were checked out for minor injuries but did not require hospitalization.

Multiple calls to 911 came in around midnight Friday. Due to the large amount of smoke, some residents first believed their own home might be on fire, Aubrey said.

When fire crews arrived – the No. 2 hall at Happy Valley Road is right around the corner – there were flames shooting out the rear of the home. “We worried initially about the direction of the flames and the smoke,” Aubrey said, as there were trees and a deck next door not far away.

Damage to the home was estimated at about $200,000. Emergency Social Services was on scene and helped the family find alternate short-term lodging.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com