Crews have started to clean up the aftermath of a Sidney fire that has left a family of three with an uncertain future (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Fire official describes Sidney fire as ‘accidental’

Mike Harman, deputy chief, says cause of fire may be available by Tuesday

An official with the Sidney Volunteer Fire Department says the fire that damaged a Sidney house Saturday afternoon remains under investigation, but is currently “deemed to be accidental.”

Mike Harman, deputy chief, made that observation less than 24 hours after members of three area departments responded to the fire on Beacon Avenue West near the Victoria International Airport. Bob and Janine Taverner were living in the home as renters with their five-year-old daughter Georgia. All three escaped without any injuries, but the fire caused extensive damage to the modest bungalow.

Harman said the man was working in the garage, then left to do an errand, with the wife and child remaining in the home.

“They noticed out the front window smoke and fire,” he said. “They grabbed the family dog, they exited the structure [and] called 911.” When asked about the nature of the work, Harman did not give specifics.

RELATED: Saanich Peninsula rallies around Sidney family with young daughter after fire

“He [the man] said he was just working in his garage,” said Harman. When asked about any possible link between the work in the garage and the fire, Harman said “that part is under investigation.”

Harman added that the department might have an answer about the cause of the fire by Tuesday.

Harman could confirm that the woman heard what one account has described as “a loud bang in the garage” before seeing fire and smoke. “It actually sounded as if a tree had fallen on the house is what she said to me,” said Harman.

The family has received support through the Peninsula Emergency Measures Organization (PEMO). “The emergency social services team has looked after the family for 72 hours,” he said. ‘They provided accommodations, meal vouchers, and we have always looked after getting them some additional clothing and things like that.”

Not one, but two fundraising campaigns are also currently underway to help the family, which moved to Sidney in early August according to the Facebook account of Janine Taverner, whom friends describe as a stay-at-home mom and entrepreneur, who runs her business, Rustic Tavern Illustrations. Bob Taverner works as a truck driver.

According to one of the fundraising campaigns, the fire caused extensive damage to the home, but Harman could not provide a dollar estimate at this stage.

Harman said crews responded to the fire just after 4 p.m. Saturday. About 30 firefighters from three departments — Sidney, North Saanich, and Central Saanich — responded to the incident, either on-site or supplying back up coverage. Sidney/North Saanich RCMP, Central Saanich Police, and British Columbia Ambulance Service also responded.

“We had trucks on-site pretty quick [and] we had the main body of the fire knocked down in about 20 minutes or so,” said Harman, who praised the family’s response to the fire.

“This family knew what to do when they encountered a fire,” he said. “They grabbed themselves, they didn’t grab belongings, they existed the structure, they went to their meeting point, which for them was out on the street, and called 911 right away,” he said.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 case confirmed at downtown Victoria 7-Eleven

Employee tests positive, company warns of possible exposure risk between Aug. 10 and 14

Rare white orca spotted hunting off shores of Alaska for first time

Tl’uk seems healthy and strong, says researcher

Mental health challenges add to youth stress load

Part 2 in a Black Press series on Youth Homelessness

Langford bike park rolling along to completion

New park a tribute to Jordie Lunn’s legacy

Mount Newton Centre pivots to keep serving seniors

Peninsula non-profit in need of iPads to stay connected

VIDEO: Greater Victoria police officers try bhangra dancing with social media star

Gurdeep Pandher leads bhangra lesson on front lawn of the BC Legislature building

Unofficial holidays: here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Aug. 16 to 22

World Photography Day, Black Cat Appreciation Day and Rum Day all coming up this week

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Most Read