Fire rips through Esquimalt RV park

Lorraine Goulden's eyes filled with tears as she stood outside in the middle of the night, watching flames consume her friend's motorhome.

  • Mar. 29, 2016 6:00 p.m.

By Pamela Roth and Kendra Wong

Lorraine Goulden’s eyes filled with tears as she stood outside in the middle of the night, watching flames consume her friend’s motorhome in the West Bay Marine Village in Esquimalt.

The senior was on her computer around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday when she noticed flames at least 20 feet high coming from the motorhome across the street, followed by a series of explosions.

“I thought we were being shot at,” said Goulden. “Everything was blowing up.”

Goulden woke her husband and rushed outside where she found a small crowd of onlookers watching the flames burn the motorhome and touch the walls of neighbouring RVs.

Firefighters arrived in the tightly packed RV park around 2 a.m. to find the motorhome fully engulfed in flames. A large 36-foot fifth wheel trailer was also partially on fire.

It took crews about 30 minutes to get the blaze under control. Everyone managed to escape unharmed, but a cat is still missing.

Steve Serbic, assistant fire chief for Esquimalt, is still adding up the cost of the extensive damage and trying to determine what sparked the blaze. The fire could have been a lot worse, he said, but firefighters recently conducted training exercises in the RV park.

“They pulled right up and knew exactly what to do,” said Serbic. “Motorhomes tend to burn rapidly and very quickly and they spread very quickly. Those guys knew exactly how to cut it off and save the ones that weren’t involved yet.”

Later Tuesday morning, Pamela and her husband Jim Smith received hugs from several neighbours offering condolences about the loss of their seasonal home for the past eight years.

After five months of living in Esquimalt, the couple were scheduled to head back to their Saskatoon home on Friday, but are now tasked with combing through the rubble of their charred RV to salvage any valuables they can find.

Jim was sound asleep when he heard the smoke detector go off and discovered the motorhome was full of smoke. He managed to grab his wallet, cell phone, glasses and enough clothes for a few days before running outside.

“I feel very lucky,” he said, adding the incident has left him shaken.

The community continues to rally behind dozens of long-term tenants that were displaced by another fire at the Traveller’s Inn on Blanshard Street last week.

The Salvation Army and Our Place Society are offering temporary housing for victims. Maj. Brian Slous, executive director of the Salvation Army’s addiction and rehabilitation centre, said 18 individuals are being housed and fed at the centre on Johnson Street.

“It’s a very difficult situation for them. We’re going to do everything that we can to expedite them into the system, but at the same time, won’t be seeing them out on the street either,” Slous said. “We are hoping more permanent solutions or permanent transitional solutions can be afforded.”

If victims are still in need of shelter at the end of the month, Slous said they will be welcome to stay with the potential of turning the centre’s first floor group lodging into dorms and rooms.

The United Way Greater Victoria has also provided $10,000 in funding to the Canadian Red Cross to help with basic needs such as shelter, food, assistance linking to local resources, information, clothing and household items.

The fire ripped through the three-storey building around midnight on March 21. The cause is still under investigation.

 

 

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

Just Posted

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed as Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

The Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre will once again be transformed into temporary sheltering for 45 individuals starting in March. (Courtesy of the B.C. Government)
Temporary shelter to resume at Victoria Save-On-Foods arena in March

BC Housing signed lease with GSL Group from Feb. 1 to May 30

A property at 1224 Richardson St. in Victoria is the subject of a rezoning application that seeks permission to build three low-rise buildings with 24 units, including four that would rent for below market rate. (Google Streetview)
Victoria development in Fairfield features subsidized housing element

Public hearings this Thursday (Jan. 28) for proposals on Richardson Street and Heywood Avenue

Leila Bui with her parents Tuan (left) and Kairry Nguyen on Jan. 27, 2020 after Tenessa Nikirk was found guilty for striking Bui in a Saanich crosswalk. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Driver convicted of dangerous driving after hitting Leila Bui out on bail

Tennesa Nikirk was convicted for striking then 11-year-old Leila Bui with her car

Victoria police made 22 warrant enforcement arrests Jan. 27 as part of its #VicPDWarrantWednesday project. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
UPDATED: Victoria police make 22 arrests during #WarrantWednesday

VicPD says arrests part of warrant enforcement project

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 26

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(B.C. government photo)
POLL: Would you like to see restrictions on travel to B.C. from other provinces?

With a host of more virulent strains of COVID-19 appearing across the… Continue reading

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.
B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at B.C. legislature on the province’s mass vaccination plan for COVID-19, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 quarantine not an option for B.C., John Horgan says

Apres-ski parties increase risk, not interprovincial travel

Most Read