Five people escaped from a Metchosin home Tuesday night unharmed, just before Game 4 of the Canucks playoff broadcast, as fire tore through the roof.
Neighbours driving by the Barrow Road home around 5 p.m. noticed smoke pouring from the shingles over the three-car garage. The homeowners were unaware and settling in to watch the game.
Kyle Batty pounded on the door, alerting the people to get out. The Slegg Lumber employee then grabbed a ladder and garden hose, climbed to the roof and started spraying down the fire.
“I just got what I needed, climbed to the roof and sprayed the flames. If not, their house might have gone up,” Batty said. Perhaps a volunteer firefighter at heart, he continued to help Metchosin volunteer firefighters hold hose lines.
Multiple Metchosin engines and 23 firefighters responded quickly and contained the fire mainly to the garage area of the home.
The garage suffered water and fire damage, and part of the home suffered water damage. It’s suspected a chimney fire carried into the attic space of the garage.
Fire crews hauled out a portable water tank, a critical piece of equipment in a rural area, noted fire Chief Stephanie Dunlop.
Looking similar to an above ground swimming pool, firefighters and Waterworks water delivery made water runs to keep the tank full
“There was no hydrant nearby. That is by far one of the biggest hazards (for fire fighting in Metchosin),” Dunlop said. “Out here we rely on tankers.”
As for a passerby attempting to fight a fire, Dunlop said no matter how noble, such acts carry great personal risk, and she does not recommend people put themselves in harm’s way.
Amy Culter, Batty’s girlfriend, said they tried to call 9-1-1 with their cellphones, but that part of Metchosin doesn’t get coverage. The homeowners had to call emergency responders from inside the house.
“Cellphones don’t work here. That’s another reason we need a cell tower out here — for emergencies,” she said, referencing the recent dispute between Metchosin and Telus over the siting of a cellphone tower.