A fiery blaze lit up the night sky near the Oak Bay/Saanich border Sunday night.
Multiple fire departments were called at approximately 8:20 p.m. on Dec. 30, said Saanich Fire Lieutenant Inspector Carl Trepels. Crews from Oak Bay arrived first, followed by crews from Saanich who have since taken over the investigation.
The house fire on Trent Street, near Royal Jubilee Hospital, burned through a home under renovation. Trepels said it took about 45 minutes to get the fire under control, though crews worked through the night and were still on scene the next morning battling flare-ups.
“It was through the roof,” Trepels said. “There’s drywall in there, there’s no insulation. Once it got going it was basically — we ‘surround and drown’ is what the crews did.”
Fire crews said no one was inside at the time and there were no injuries. Neighbouring houses on both sides did suffer some minor damage due to radiant heat.
— Saanich Fire (@SaanichFire) December 31, 2018
“The crews did a great job because there’s nothing really protecting the structure, there’s no drywall, it was down to the studs so just a big tinder block,” Trepels said. “They did a good job in containing it, especially with the close proximity to the houses.”
Police forensics were on scene Monday morning, combing through the rubble alongside Trepels.
“At this point the Saanich Police and Saanich Fire are conducting an investigation to see whether this was possibly a set fire, however it is currently under investigation so we don’t know,” Trepels said. “Fires do burn evidence, but there are things that we can look for. Burn patterns, degree of heat, degree of charring, that kind of thing. Video from the fire that was taken can also give us some idea of where the fire may have started.”
Investigators do not suspect foul play at this point, Trepels said, but the structure will likely have to be demolished once the investigation is completed.