Woman charged with arson in relation to Duncan fire

A fire destroyed several units at a housing complex on Auchinachie Road Tuesday night. (Damian Joulie photo)
A fire destroyed several units at a housing complex on Auchinachie Road Tuesday night. (Damian Joulie photo)
A fire destroyed several units at a housing complex on Auchinachie Road Tuesday night. (Damian Joulie photo)
A fire destroyed several units at a housing complex on Auchinachie Road Tuesday night. (Damian Joulie photo)
A fire destroyed several units at a housing complex on Auchinachie Road Tuesday night. (Damian Joulie photo)
Several units in a housing complex on Auchinachie Road were extensively damaged in a fire Tuesday night. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

A Duncan woman has been charged with one count of arson damaging property after a fire swept through a housing complex with five living units in it on Auchinachie Road just outside Duncan early on Feb. 5.

Martin Drakeley, North Cowichan’s manager of fire and bylaw services, said fire crews from the South End and Maple Bay fire halls responded to the call at 2:26 a.m. and found one of the units fully engulfed in flames.

He said it took 25 firefighters and eight firefighting vehicles to put the blaze out over the next three hours.

Drakeley said there were no injuries among the approximately 12 people who were in the living units when the fire began, and no one had to be rescued.

Rhiannon Heather Midgley was in Duncan court Thursday morning on charges related to the fire.

RELATED: Fire crews, RCMP dispatched after vandals light fire

She was arrested at the scene on Feb. 5, and was the resident of the unit where the fire started. She has been remanded into custody.

Arson investigators are continuing to examine the scene and gather evidence.

Some of the units on the opposite end of the complex where the blaze was centred were spared the worst of the fire and water damage, but the homes remained evacuated on the morning of Feb. 6 until the tenants are given the green light to enter them after they are inspected.

“The people were assessed on scene and some were taken in by the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s community services department,” he said.

RELATED: North Cowichan firefighters battle flames Friday night

Pat Toutant, a neighbour on Auchinachie Road, said he awoke just after 2 a.m. and saw the fire and tenants from the housing complex assembling on the street.

He said he went outside in his pajamas and invited seven or eight of them, including seniors and young children, into his home to keep warm and get their bearings.

“They all seemed OK, although they were pretty shook up and nervous,” Toutant said.

“I put on a pot of coffee to help mellow them out and then there were fire trucks everywhere setting up to fight the fire. A little after that, people from the [community services department] came and took some of the tenants to hotels, while others went to stay with their families.”

“It’s a tragedy that so many people are displaced from their homes due to this fire,” said Operations Support NCO, Sergeant Trevor Busch. “Thankfully no one was injured.”

If you have any further information regarding this crime, please call the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at cowichancrimestoppers.com to leave a secure tip online, or call 1-800-222-8477.

House fire

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

Just Posted

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

UPDATED: Man dies from injuries at Custom House construction site in Victoria

Government Street remains closed as investigation continues

VIJHL season could start Oct. 1, says league president

League awaiting final approval from local health authorities and viaSport

Netflix, Warner Bros filming 10-part series in Colwood

Filming takes place now until March 2021

Saanich explores options for adding shelters to parks

Covered areas would encourage safe outdoor socializing during rainy season

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Most Read