Residents of a Central Saanich duplex ‘fortunate’ to escape Sunday morning fire

This photo courtesy of Leanne Grover shows the immediate aftermath of the fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. that caused extensive damage and displaced six residents. (Leanne Grover/Submitted)This photo courtesy of Leanne Grover shows the immediate aftermath of the fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. that caused extensive damage and displaced six residents. (Leanne Grover/Submitted)
Crews with Central Saanich Fire Department spent Sunday morning mopping up a fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. that caused extensive damage. The fire displaced six people with its cause still under investigation. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)Crews with Central Saanich Fire Department spent Sunday morning mopping up a fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. that caused extensive damage. The fire displaced six people with its cause still under investigation. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
This photo shows crews battling the fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. that caused extensive damage and displaced six residents early Sunday morning. (Central Saanich Fire/Department Twitter)This photo shows crews battling the fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. that caused extensive damage and displaced six residents early Sunday morning. (Central Saanich Fire/Department Twitter)
This photo courtesy of Leanne Grover shows the fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. that caused extensive damage and displaced six residents. (Leanne Grover/Submitted)This photo courtesy of Leanne Grover shows the fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. that caused extensive damage and displaced six residents. (Leanne Grover/Submitted)
This photo courtesy of Leanne Grover shows the fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. that caused extensive damage and displaced six residents. (Leanne Grover/Submitted)This photo courtesy of Leanne Grover shows the fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. that caused extensive damage and displaced six residents. (Leanne Grover/Submitted)
This was the scene early Sunday morning as crews from Central Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney battled a fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. in Central Saanich. (Submitted).This was the scene early Sunday morning as crews from Central Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney battled a fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. in Central Saanich. (Submitted).
Ambulance and police joined up to 27 firefighters from Central Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney in responding to the early Sunday morning at 7987 Galbraith Cres. in Central Saanich. (Submitted)Ambulance and police joined up to 27 firefighters from Central Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney in responding to the early Sunday morning at 7987 Galbraith Cres. in Central Saanich. (Submitted)

Flames that coloured the sky as they reached into the night. Screams and flashing emergency lights. People who had just escaped the flames of a burning house huddling on the sidewalk under blankets.

These were just some of the impressions that Saanichton residents shared Sunday morning as they observed the aftermath of an early Sunday morning fire to a Central Saanich duplex at 7987 Galbraith Cres.

Cpt. Mike Simpson of Central Saanich Fire Department said the fire remains under investigation. “We know more once we interview the residents and once we complete our fire investigation.” He could not offer a damage estimate as crews spent Sunday morning mopping up hot spots. “As far as the upper section, it is a write-off and the bottom is water-damaged,” he said. “So it looks almost like a complete write-off.” Overall, Simpson described the fire as “very serious” given the damage.

“They (residents) were very fortunate to get out,” he said. A total of six people were living in the duplex, including a friend of Leanne Grover, who lives with her parents next to the house.

Pointing to a nearby sidewalk, Grover said her female friend was “catatonic” and “scared” as they were waiting together for ambulance crews to arrive with her friend wearing nothing but her pajamas but covering under a blanket which Grover had brought out.

“She wasn’t even moving or breathing, she was so terrified,” said Grover of her friend, said to be 19 or 20 years old. The other residents, whom Grover described between 18 to 25 years old, appeared in a similar state of shock and disbelief. “They were beyond terrified and panicked. It was total shock.”

RELATED: Six people escape early Sunday morning fire in Central Saanich unharmed

Grover for her part was just starting to realize what had happened after waking up in the early morning hours with firefighters telling her and her parents to get out of the house, mere steps away from the burning structure. “It happened really fast,” she said. “It was a huge (fire). We were just standing outside for a couple of house before we could get back in our house.”

While a fence and part of the yard caught fire, Grover said she and her family consider themselves pretty lucky. “We really thought our house was going to catch fire,” she said.

Corinne Bathurst said she woke up after hearing yelling. “A police car turned up, so I thought it was a party or something,” she said. “And I looked out and then saw people running around and the fire trucks were arriving.”

Watching from her deck, Bathurst could see flames shooting up from the deck and out of the roof of the burning home.

“We stood here for about an hour, hour-and-a-half and then you could hear the roof collapsing,” she said. “It was pretty scary how fast these houses can up,” she said. “It was scary to see how these flames were and worrying about the neighbour’s house. The people over here said the whole sky was yellow.”

Simpson said crews responded to the duplex at around 3:40 a.m. “(On) our first arrival, (the fire) had already come through the roof,” he said. “All the residents had evacuated with a couple of minor injuries and then we just worked to fight the fire in the attic.”

He said approximately 30 firefighters responded, including crews from Sidney and North Saanich. Police and ambulance were also on scene with affected residents said to have received emergency social assistance through the Peninsula Emergency Measures Organization.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Saanich Peninsula

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

Just Posted

Oak Bay Police Department briefs for May 3 to 9. (Black Press Media file photo)
Copper wire stolen after Oak Bay construction site targeted twice by thieves

Cop briefs include pair of impounded cars, swiped back medication

A partnership is looking to identify skeletal remains that were discovered by recreational divers in the Gorge Waterway this February. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Divers find partial human skull in Gorge Waterway

B.C. Coroner Service determines remains likely historical, not ancestral

Colwood council voted to give businesses less of a cut than planned and will look for more cuts this week. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood council gets back to work after voting against 9.3% property tax hike

Emergency meetings this week will find more cuts, finalize tax plan by Friday deadline

A man was arrested after allegedly threatening people downtown on May 10 while brandishing this knife. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Man armed with a knife arrested for allegedly threatening people in downtown Victoria

Officers used de-escalation techniques during afternoon arrest

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Two-year-old Kashius Weme rides at the Steve Smith Memorial Bike Park in Nanaimo on Tuesday, May 11. The youngster’s precocious bike-riding ability is already attracting cycle sponsors. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
2-year-old bike rider on Vancouver Island already attracting cycle sponsors

Nanaimo’s Kashius Weme has a knack for extreme cycle sports

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

A scene from the Schoolhouse Squat from October 2018, where Alliance Against Displacement members and supporters occupied the Rutherford Elementary School site, advocating for people experiencing homelessness. (News Bulletin file)
‘Schoolhouse Squat’ activists get conditional discharge in Nanaimo school occupation

Ivan Donald Drury, Tingchun (Listen) Chen sentenced in provincial court in Nanaimo

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Most Read