Victoria police and fire departments stretched to limits

Emergency incidents keep police and fire departments on high alert for a period of five hours Monday

In the span of just two hours Monday, Victoria emergency personnel flew between two fires, a knife attack on a police officer and a stand-off involving firearms.

Victoria police and fire departments ran at full force, with both calling in extra help to deal with the pileup of calls.

“They’re definitely taxing on officers,” Sgt. Grant Hamilton said of days like Monday.

It’s been years since the Victoria Fire Department has battled two fires at the same time.

“That’s not a usual event at all,” said battalion chief Mike Stark.

His crews were dealing with one fire when a second call came in. As the second fire escalated, all resources arrived, plus 14 members from the Oak Bay and Saanich departments, for a total of 33 firefighters.

“We needed every one of them,” Stark said.

Here’s what kept firefighters and police busy Monday:

n 8 a.m. – A fire ignites in a second-floor suite at the City Metro Suites at 2828 Rock Bay Ave. Residents are evacuated and told to gather at a nearby emergency shelter while crews extinguish the flames. The cause remains under investigation and no injuries are reported.

n 9:15 a.m. – As she finished an investigation on Douglas Street, a VicPD officer is stabbed in a knife attack. A man stabs the officer, who is working alone, in the neck. Her hands are cut as she tried to defend herself. A driver, noticing the fracas, jumps from his car to stop the assailant, using the officer’s handcuffs.

n 9:50 a.m. – A plumber’s torch ignites a blaze at a Rockland condo building. Smoke billows from the structure at 1149 Rockland Ave. for more than an hour, and crews work to extinguish the fire most of the day. No one is injured.

n 10 a.m. – Police race to a residence in the 1400 block of Edgeware Road, when a concerned caller requests a check on the resident’s well-being. A stand-off ensues when police learn there are firearms inside the house. At 12:30 p.m., police enter the house and take the man to hospital for examination.

“It’s not unusual that we’ve had days like this, but look at the types of calls we’ve been dealing with. (Plus) there’s still the mundane routine stuff. (It is) becoming more common that we’re having these significant calls,” Hamilton said.