UPDATED: Crews ‘turn corner’ in battling heritage house blaze, gaining the upper hand

Victoria fire crews are working to put out a fire in the 200-block of Robert Street in Victoria West that started at around 8:40 p.m. on April 28. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
A young girl watches firefighters tackle the blaze inside the heritage home. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Deputy Fire Chief Dan Atkinson of the Victoria Fire Department says as of 10:30 p.m. crews were gaining the upper hand, but the fire won’t be extinguished for several more hours. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Victoria fire crews are working to put out a fire in the 200-block of Robert Street in Victoria West that started at around 8:40 p.m. on April 28. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Victoria fire crews say they’ve turned “a corner” after battling a structure fire in the 200-block of Robert Street for several hours late Tuesday night.

Deputy Chief Dan Atkison says the only person in the heritage home at the time of the blaze was able to make it out safely.

“My understanding is he was met on the front yard when crews arrived, so the occupant was contacted and deemed to be fine, he didn’t require any medical attention and walked under his own power,” says Atkinson, adding the man was currently with friends.

READ ALSO: Fairfield gas station fire deemed arson

The blaze broke out at approximately 8:40 p.m. on April 28. A neighbour watching the fire fighting effort told Black Press Media the fire broke out in the kitchen of the home, but Atkinson says it is “way too early” to know what caused the fire.

According to the Victoria Heritage Foundation, the home was built in 1903 for $2,000. The house has a “prominent two-storey corner tower,” with large central windows and a “large, flat-topped, rectangular hipped roof,” reads the Victoria Heritage Foundation’s website.

READ ALSO: Victoria police seek information on nine suspicious fires

Atkinson says when crews first arrived they attempted to fight the fire from the interior on two separate occasions but were forced out due to the “severe” conditions inside both times. At that point, interior crews were withdrawn and the firefighters took up a defensive position, tackling the fire from outside.

“I imagine we’ll be here for the next several hours attempting to put out hotspots, I feel like we’ve turned a bit of a corner here which is positive,” he says. “We have the fire at a point where we’re gaining the upper hand, but we’re far from out of the woods at this point. It’s going to be several more hours before we can deem this extinguished.”

Atkinson says an investigation into the cause of the fire will take place once the blaze has been extinguished.


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