A fire at a long-term care home in Brentwood Bay Monday night displaced its 17 residents as crews work to repair damage to the facility.
At about 9:30 p.m., the Central Saanich Fire Department was alerted to alarm bells in the 1100-block of Stelly’s Cross Road, according to fire chief Chris Vrabel.
En-route, he said crews were told by dispatch that it was an actual working fire. Upon arrival Vrabel said crews discovered a fire contained to a single room. The fire was partially suppressed by the building’s sprinkler system.
Crews extinguished the remaining fire, removed smoke from the building and shut water off to the sprinkler. Vrabel said there were no injuries, but 17 residents in the facility were relocated.
“Any facility that has multiple units is a complex incident for us and the demographics involved changed the complexity of this case,” Vrabel said. “The staff were excellent to work with and were already assisting with the evacuation process.”
The fire took place at Brentwood House, a 17-unit facility owned and operated by Beacon Community Services. It is a two-storey building with private rooms on both floors. The facility is funded by Island Health.
Mark Blandford, executive director of seniors health and primary care with Island Health said the response was the best they could expect from the team at Brentwood House.
He said two staff members responded to an activated sprinkler and fire in a patient’s room and removed the resident from the room. Blandford said the cause of the fire is still being investigated.
Quickly after, Beacon Community Services management also arrived on site to take care of the residents and they contacted Island Health’s on-call team. The team determined the best action was to move residents home with their families and for those who couldn’t do so, move them to another facility. In this case, nine residents went home and eight were transferred to Victoria General Hospital where there were empty beds in the emergency department. Now efforts are being made to transfer them to another long-term care facility such as Gorge Road Hospital.
While Blandford said they are unsure as to how long Brentwood House will be closed, he said it could be a month. He said it is unusual for there to be empty beds available, but noted that Island Health has been deliberately working to free up bed capacity Island wide.
“The fact that we had free beds at this time of year is unheard of,” Blandford said.
The incident also showed the training and systems in place are effective, he said.
He also said the collaboration between Beacon Community Services and Island Health staff to make sure there is a smooth transition has been “fantastic.”
Now, the priority is to maintain continuity of care for the residents, ensuring they have the same care they received while at Brentwood House.
About 15 years ago, Blandford said he was involved in converting the Brentwood House building to have a sprinkler system.
“Beacon put a lot of effort into it,” Blandford said. “Now, that has paid off.”
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