Sahtlam volunteer firefighters were assisted by crews from multiple other halls as they battled a blaze on Cowichan Lake Road on Saturday night. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Vancouver Island firefighter loses home to blaze

By the next morning heavy machinery was brought in to demolish what remained

A volunteer firefighter and her husband from the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island have lost everything to a house fire.

On the night of Saturday, June 8 the Sahtlam fire department was called to a fire in the attic of a home on old Cowichan Lake Road.

“When the call came in it was well underway inside where it couldn’t be seen and as soon as our firefighter, who lives there, noticed it and investigated it, she called it in right away,” said Sahtlam fire chief Randy Busch.

Volunteer firefighter and local mail carrier Lona Maas made the call.

Shortly after her fellow firefighters arrived, the decision was made to call for help from the Lake Cowichan and Duncan departments.

Busch explained that given the location of the house and the type of fire they were looking at, they knew they’d need help with water.

“It doesn’t take very long to spread and getting inside an attic type fire is difficult. Part of it was accessing the house,” he added. “It was tough to get in so we had to stage a little bit further back and tried to work around it. We wanted to hit it hard and get water on it as quick as we could, that takes a lot of water, quick.”

Duncan and Lake Cowichan crews worked to shuttle water from hydrants up and down the rural road.

There was another reason for the mutual aid request, too.

“We had to make sure it was all the exposures and that’s another reason for the quick call out,” he explained.

With a lot of other materials and many trees on the property, combined with extremely dry weather, there was a fear of the flames spreading.

The crews worked through the night but by the next morning heavy machinery was brought in to demolish what remained in an effort to douse the hot spots.

“It’s my understanding is that it will be a total loss,” Busch said. “They had to bring in an excavator to open up parts of the house that we couldn’t get at. There’s substantial damage there.”

Busch said it stung to know the home was that of a colleague.

“It was big-time hard,” he said. “Everybody was obviously quite concerned and quite focused on what they were doing to try to do what you can.”

The community has rallied to help the Maases, however. There’s already a GoFundMe campaign aimed at helping the couple get back on their feet. Visit https://www.gofundme.com/al-and-lona-maas-fire-fund to donate.

Donations are also being accepted at the Sahtlam fire hall.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

RCMP confirm foul play in death of 60-year-old Metchosin man

Police believe crime an isolated incident

Mercury tops out on top of the world: Alert in Nunavut warmer than Victoria

It’s the latest anomaly in what’s been a long, hot summer across the Arctic

BC Ferries’ top boss helps clean Willows Beach

Old shoe, men’s underpants and too many cigarette butts on Willows

Victoria businesses remain plastic-bag free, despite court ruling

Business association says no one has inquired into re-establishing the use of plastic bags

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Canadian is detained in China on drug allegations: Chinese government

Detention of a Canadian in China comes as part a diplomatic dispute triggered by arrest of Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou

Rare white ravens spotted again in mid-Island

Nature photographer Mike Yip said mysterious birds back in Coombs area

CO’s call off efforts to trap bear who attacked North Island man

Woss man recuperating after incident on remote logging road

Too much time on social media can hurt teens’ mental health: study

Researchers conducted a four-year survey of more than 3,800 adolescents between Grades 7 and 11

Advocates want charges in horse deaths during Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races

Chuckwagon races are a nightly spectacle during the Stampede, a 10-day annual celebration of western life

ICBC insurance renewals get more complicated this year

Crash history, driver risk prompt more reporting requirements

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

Most Read