View Royal fire inspector Rob Marshall looks inside a burned RV located behind a home on the Songhees First Nation.

Update: Explosion destroys RV in Songhees reserve

A man is seriously injured and in hospital after an explosion in an RV on the Songhees Nation reserve last night.

  • Dec. 20, 2011 11:00 a.m.

Investigators suspect a leaky propane tank provided fuel for a fireball explosion in an RV on the Songhees Nation reserve Monday night.

View Royal fire inspector Rob Marshall said the lone occupant, a 27-year-old male, was using a barbecue-size propane tank to feed a heating unit in the RV.

“It looks like gas leaked out and ignited,” Marshall said. After the propane blast, the relief valve on the 20-pound tank failed, turning it into a large, out-of-control blow torch.

As of Wednesday, officials had yet to speak with the man, who is in the intensive care unit at Royal Jubilee Hospital. He suffered serious burns to his face and neck, and lacerations to his legs from glass.

View Royal fire, the B.C. Safety Authority and West Shore RCMP investigated the explosion on Tuesday, and pieced together most of the sequence of events. The ignition source remains unclear, although it could be the heater itself.

It’s believed the occupant, who lived in the uninsured vehicle parked behind his parents’ house, was sitting at his table when the propane ignited at about 11:45 p.m. Monday night.

“He was burned from the neck up,” noted Marshall, explaining that the uniform pattern of injury suggests it was likely a flash burn, meaning he was only in the fire for an instant.

Officials initially thought the force of the blast ejected the man out of the camper, but Marshall said that based on witness comments, and despite his injuries, he likely managed to throw himself out, saving his own life.

“We think he dove out the window,” Marshall said.

The fire burned hot and fast, fully engulfing the 24-foot RV in under five minutes. The fire was at least 660 degrees C as it melted the RV’s aluminum siding.

“If he hadn’t got out instantly, the fire would have been unsurvivable,” said View Royal fire chief Paul Hurst. “Burns aside, he is a lucky guy.”

A total of 18 fire fighters from View Royal and Colwood made quick work of the fire, knocking it down in a few minutes. The camper was destroyed, with it’s front and rear walls melted away and the interior charred black.

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Thousands raised for cancer at second annual Gala for Hope

Victoria Fire Department’s fundraiser a success ahead of Ride to Conquer Cancer

Crews respond to near drowning at Thetis Lake

Man taken to hospital after calls come in of drowning in progress

Vet services for Victoria’s pets of the homeless cancelled for first time in a decade

Vets for Pets faces a volunteer shortage that’s forced the group to cancel its recent service

Wooldog among mysteries uncovered with powerful UVic microscope

Finding ‘Mutton,’ a dog lost in a Smithsonian drawer for 150 years

Optometrist pedals through depression, leads others for the cause

Ride Don’t Hide bike rides start, end at Windsor Park

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

Homalco tour gives glimpse into area’s ‘People, Land, Water’

First Nation business mixes cultural components with wildlife excursions

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

Most Read