View Royal house fire a good reminder of smoke dangers

Mutual aid agreement credited for quick response to structure fire

Fire tore through a View Royal home on Tuesday, sending one man to hospital after he attempted to rescue a dog from the flames.

“He was lucky he wasn’t overcome by the smoke,” said View Royal Fire Rescue Chief Paul Hurst. He said the incident is a good reminder for people to get out of a building once the fire can no longer be contained by a fire extinguisher.

Twenty-seven firefighters from the View Royal and Colwood departments were called to the 200-block of Suzanne Pl. at around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. The first crews arrived within three minutes of receiving multiple 911 calls.

A call about a propane leak at a mobile home came in just before the fire call. If crews had been tied up at the mobile home, it may have taken them much longer to respond and the outcome could have been very different, Hurst said.

“We got lucky in that both calls came in at the same time.” He noted their mutual aid agreement with Colwood allowed View Royal to head straight to the structure fire. “We just diverted one of their trucks to the propane call.”

Once on scene, crews found fire venting out the rear window of a two-storey, single-family home, and heavy smoke billowing from the eaves and roof. A male resident was still in the home, attempting to locate a dog. He ran out when the first fire truck arrived and was treated on scene before being transported by ambulance to Victoria General Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. Both of the residence’s dogs were eventually accounted for.

While crews got the fire under control within roughly 10 minutes of arriving, Hurst said “it shows you how quickly and destructive a fire can be … It doesn’t take long.”

The fire was contained to a rear bedroom, but the rest of the home sustained significant heat and smoke damage. The insurance provider has not given the department a damage estimate at this time, but Hurst thought it could be somewhere in the range of $150,000.

While fire inspectors believe the fire originated in the back bedroom, the exact cause is still undetermined and the blaze is not being treated as suspicious.

“We had a fire watch on scene all night,” Hurst said, explaining that two firefighters in a truck were on site watching for hot spots or anything that could potentially re-ignite the fire.

No firefighters were injured and View Royal Emergency Social Services was on hand to help people affected by the fire.