North Saanich house fire sends 11 to hospital

Up to 16 people were in the house; fire not suspicious in early investigation.

Eleven people were taken to hospital after an early morning fire erupted in a house on the Pauquachin First Nation in North Saanich.

Police were called to the home at around 2:45 a.m., says Cpl. Erin Fraser of the Sidney North Saanich RCMP. One man suffered serious burns and smoke inhalation, she said, and is expected to remain in hospital at least overnight. She reported later Thursday afternoon that the man, in his 20s, is in serious condition with burns to his back.

The other 10 people taken to hospital were expected to be released later today after treatment for smoke inhalation.

There were 15 or 16 people in the house at the time, Fraser said, adding police have been interviewing witnesses and the occupants to get further information about what happened and how many people were inside.

Fraser said investigators from the RCMP and North Saanich Fire Department are looking into the cause of the fire. She said early reports indicate it may have started in the kitchen. Investigators continue to pinpoint the exact cause.

Fraser added the kitchen was destroyed in the fire and the home is not able to be occupied at this time. She said local emergency social services are helping the occupants find temporary accommodation.