Three homes were damaged by an early morning fire on Craigflower Road. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

UPDATED: Early morning fire sends four to hospital, destroys three homes on Songhees Nation

Neighbours heard screams, explosions before helping others flee the flames

Frantic screams woke Angela Elder up at around 5 a.m. Wednesday morning. Peering through her bedroom window, she could see flames shooting up from a mobile home across the road in the 1200-block of Craigflower Road.

Two people were able to escape from the home just before Elder heard explosions. After calling 911, she began knocking on doors and evacuating the homes adjacent to the flaming structure.

She said an elderly couple, living in one of the homes engulfed in flames, fled the fire with nothing on but what they wore to bed — “no shoes, no coat, no nothing.”

According to Environment Canada, temperatures in some areas of the West Shore reached as low as 1 C Wednesday morning. Esquimalt and Greater Victoria’s core saw temperatures around 5 C.

Martin Sundstorm, another neighbour living in the tight-knit community on the Songhees Nation, heard the screams while having his morning coffee and called 911 as well, before joining Elder, banging on doors to notify neighbours — worried they would have to evacuate the whole park.

Sundstorm wrapped a housecoat around one of the victims of the fire, while Elder found some shoes for another.

The group gathered across the road and watched three trailers become completely engulfed in flames. Other neighbours, watching from above, reported seeing flames shoot at least 100 feet into the air following an explosion.

When View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst arrived on scene the flames were too high to try and salvage the homes. Fire crews worked to save nearby homes, using ladders to fight the fire from above. Esquimalt and Colwood fire crews were also called to help fight the fire.

ALSO READ: Emergency crews respond to structure fire on Songhees Nation

Firefighters noted a few 100-pound propane tanks were venting – letting out propane due to a build-up of excessive pressure within the tank – which is what neighbours believe caused the sounds they heard.

Surrounding hydro lines began to catch fire, that’s when Elder said the scene got really scary.

BC Hydro shut off power in the area to ensure firefighter safety.

According to Hurst, four people were transported to Victoria General Hospital with different injuries. Elder hopes they’ll be able to stay there for the night, as the victim’s families are spread across the country.

Emergency Support Services and a BC Transit bus were on scene to help displaced residents.

Hurst told Black Press Media there is no word on what caused the fire, but every fire is treated as suspicious until deemed otherwise. An investigation team will begin sifting through the rubble of the three destroyed homes, which Hurst believes could take a few days.

Two vehicles were also destroyed and two neighbouring homes received some fire damage.

The fire closed Craigflower Road between Admirals and Tillicum roads for much of the morning commute.

READ ALSO: Ask a Saanich firefighter: Escape plans, fireworks and more


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

 

Emergency crews responding to a structure fire on Craigflower Road. (Photos courtesy of View Royal Fire Rescue)

Emergency crews responding to a structure fire on Craigflower Road. (Photos courtesy of View Royal Fire Rescue)

Emergency crews responding to a structure fire on Craigflower Road. (Photos courtesy of View Royal Fire Rescue)

Just Posted

‘We thought it was an earthquake,’ homeowners okay after tree falls

Mature tree falls on roof of Victoria Avenue house

Saanich roads doused in more than 300 tonnes of salt during snowstorm

Crews cleared roads around the clock during the mid-January storm

Strong winds expected in Greater Victoria Friday evening

Winds are expected to ease Saturday morning

BC Ferries hybrid ships arrive in Victoria on Saturday

The battery-operated vessels will take over smaller routes

VIDEO: The Victoria byelection leads a selection of today’s news stories

A selection of Greater Victoria top stories for Jan. 17

Theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat on Vancouver Island

RCMP in Nanaimo seek to identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Clerk bruised, traumatized after armed robbery at Nanaimo liquor store

Few details on male suspect in Wednesday incident, says Nanaimo RCMP

One last blast of winter tonight for parts of the Island before temperatures on the rise

A snowfall warning is in effect Friday including east Vancouver Island.

POLL: Has the recent snow had an impact on your daily life?

Old Man Winter had Greater Victoria in his icy grip this week.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

Most Read