A homeless camp burned down in View Royal late Thursday morning. (Kendra Wong/News Gazette staff)

Crews respond to homeless camp fire in View Royal

View Royal, Saanich and Colwood responding to two separate incidents on the Trans-Canada Highway

Emergency crews were kept busy Thursday morning with two separate incidents near the Trans-Canada Highway.

View Royal Fire Rescue was called to a brush fire at approximately 10:30 a.m. after a significant column of black smoke was reported near the Trans-Canada Highway. But Fire Chief Paul Hurst noted given the current weather conditions crews were anticipating something a little different.

Once crews arrived on scene, just off the side of the highway near the intersection of Burnside Road West and Watkiss Way, they discovered a 20-by-20-foot structure fully engulfed in fire.

“This was a large, well established homeless camp with evidence of several people living there,” Hurst said. “Firefighters initially fought the fire defensively from a distance because several explosions were encountered for small propane tanks in the fire.”

Hurst added several 20-pound barbecue propane tanks were also exposed to the fire as well.

Crews were initially concern someone may have still been in the structure but were able to determine it was empty.

There is no fixed address for this site. The property is owned by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and is maintained by Mainroad South Island Contracting LP. Hurst noted Mainroad will assess the costs of cleaning up the camp.

Due to a lack of fire hydrants in the area, Colwood Fire Rescue was asked to attend with their tanker truck. West Shore RCMP and B.C. Ambulance paramedics were also on scene.

While crews were battling the blaze another call came in at roughly 10:45 a.m. for a two-vehicle crash on the TCH, roughly 300 metres south of the fire.

According to West Shore RCMP Cpl. Chris Dovell when the initial call came in “there was an injured male and he was lying on the ground.”

The man was an occupant of one of the vehicles involved in the crash but it was unclear why he had exited the vehicle and was lying beside the roadway. Dovell noted there were no serious injuries as a result of the crash but Emergency Health Services did attend.

The crash was discovered by a tow truck driver, which Dovell added isn’t uncommon.

Since View Royal and Colwood crews were battling the nearby fire, Saanich Fire responded to the crash and Esquimalt Fire was put on standby to cover calls in View Royal.

Both vehicles had to be towed from the crash and all crews were cleared from both scenes at around noon.


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A homeless camp burned down in View Royal late Thursday morning. (Kendra Wong/News Gazette staff)

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