Fatal apartment fire in Saanich under investigation by police, fire and coroner services

A woman in her 60s died as a result of the fire on Richmond Road

A woman in her 60s died after an apartment fire on Richmond Road in Saanich that left two other residents in the hospital with unconfirmed injuries.

Fire crews received a call around 4:30 a.m. on Friday for a structure fire in the 2600-block of Richmond Road where crews were met with heavy smoke and flames pouring out of a fourth floor balcony.

According to Saanich Fire captain and public information officer Jerry Tomljenovic, crews performed four separate ladder rescues on various balconies and then proceeded to fight the fire.

RELATED: UPDATED: One person dead and two in hospital after morning apartment fire in Saanich

Tomljenovic says six units were directly affected and 18 units were affected by smoke and water damage with investigators still on scene.

The woman who died was found in the hallway of the fourth floor and later succumbed to her injuries.

According to Tomljenovic approximately 50 people were evacuated and all displaced residents are at the Cedar Hill Recreation Centre where food, clothing and lodging is being issued until they are allowed back inside.

The two other people taken to hospital were suffering from smoke inhalation and are currently under further assessment.

Saanich Det. Sgt. Damian Kowalewich told the media police officers in the detective division, the forensic team and the patrol unit are all involved with the investigation although he could not say whether the fire was suspicious.

READ ALSO: Downtown Victoria fire deemed ‘suspicious’

“Any time anybody perishes in a fire it’s very significant,” he said. “It impacts that family, it impacts that neighbourhood and it impacts the community. We obviously take it very seriously that’s why we’re working here with our partner agencies we’re looking into this as deeply as we can to make sure cover everything.”

When pressed on whether he thought this fire was connected to a recent string of suspicious fires Kowalewich said any time there’s a series of crimes, officers investigate every angle to make sure they haven’t missed anything.

The investigation which involves police crews, fire crews and the B.C. Coroner’s Service, will involve looking at video surveillance, speaking to the occupants — especially the ones living closest to the centre of the fire — and speaking to anyone who may have been in the area at the time.

An update on the fire is expected to come this weekend.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

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Three departments responded to a structure fire in the 2600-block of Richmond Road early Friday morning. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

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