Two Esquimalt families are lucky to have escaped unharmed after a fire ripped through their Gorge-area homes early Saturday morning.
The eight residents are staying in a nearby hotel after being assisted by Esquimalt’s emergency social services program, which links people affected by disaster to basic clothing, food and provincial housing supports.
“Anytime we get a fire and there are no injuries, it’s a good day,” said Esquimalt Assistant Fire Chief Gib Smalls.
The families narrowly escaped their homes, at 896 and 900 Dellwood Rd., after a fire broke out from improperly disposed fire ashes in a garage around 2 a.m.
Firefighters from Esquimalt, CFB Esquimalt and Saanich Fire Rescue contained the blaze after it spread from the first home to an RV parked in the driveway, and then to the adjacent home.
The heat from the blaze was so intense it melted the back of a minivan nearby, said Steven Heywood, who lives a block away on Mesher Place.
“We heard a couple of loud pops, and from my deck I could see a very large orange glow and flames in the sky,” said Heywood, editor at the Peninsula News Review.
“We got dressed really quickly and went over to see the one house in flames and the fifth wheel out front fully engulfed in flames. The heat burned up a couple of cars that were parked in the yard next to it, and from there it caught the deck and roof of the house next door.”
Both homes are likely write-offs from fire, smoke and water damage, Smalls said.
Former B.C. fire commissioner and Esquimalt Coun. Dave Hodgins said the community will likely rally to support the families in the coming days.
“We’re all thankful no one was hurt in what was a very serious fire,” Hodgins said. “It’s devastating to lose a home, but our department and the assisting departments did excellent work.”