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

Saanich Police are investigating a broken window at the Greater Victoria School District office. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Saanich police suspect slingshot used to break window at SD61 office

Police find ball- bearing, or pellet, below broken window at school board

One of the squirrels who ended up having their tails amputated after getting them stuck together with tree sap. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Sibling squirrels in recovery after sap situation leads to tail amputation

BC SPCA Wild ARC says squirrels will be released back into wild, fifth sibling was euthanized

Police will be diverting traffic between Island View Road and Amity Drive from 12 to 1 p.m. Oct. 23. (Google Maps)
Section of Pat Bay Highway closes for Mi’kmaq fishing rights demonstration

Police will be diverting traffic Oct. 23 from noon to 1 p.m between Island View Road and Amity Drive

West Shore RCMP are asking for help identifying a male suspect who they believe tried to sell drugs to youth Sept. 19. (West Shore RCMP)
West Shore RCMP seek help identifying man selling drugs to youth

The man tried to sell two youth drugs while they waited for a bus in Langford Sept. 19

Port Alberni resident Holly Braker-McLaughlin captured footage of five bears playing in her yard. (SCREENSHOT)
VIDEO: Quintet of bears frolic in Vancouver Island yard

Port Alberni family was treated to a visit from some playful black bears

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
FILE – A voting package for the 2018 electoral reform referendum. Vote-by-mail packages for the 2020 provincial election will look similar, according to information provided by Elections BC. (Katya Slepian - Black Press Media)
POLL: Have you voted yet?

As election day quickly approaches, hundreds of thousands of British Columbians have… Continue reading

Environment Canada has issued a snowfall advisory for parts of Vancouver Island for Thursday and Friday.(File photo)
Snowfall expected in parts of Vancouver Island this week

Environment Canada has issued a snowfall advisory for north, east and inland Vancouver Island

More and more electric cars are on the road, but one Chevy Bolt owner was shocked to see how much his BC Hydro bill skyrocketed once he started charging the vehicle. (Black Press file photo)
Lower Mainland man sees significant spike in BC Hydro bill after buying electrical vehicle

An increase should be expected, but Brian Chwiendacz experienced a 200-plus per cent hike

The Anonymous YVR is an Instagram page that reviews restaurants and other establishments around B.C. based on how well they adhere to COVID-19 rules. (Instagram)
Anonymous Instagram page reviews COVID-19 safety measures at B.C. businesses

There are a number of public health orders various types of establishments must follow to slow virus’s spread

Jordan Naterer, an electrical engineer from Vancouver, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. (Facebook photo)
Search efforts to resume for missing Manning Park hiker; Trudeau speaks on case

PM says he’ll do what he can to ‘nudge’ efforts to find Jordan Naterer, yet has little leverage locally

Most Read