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

Lone wolf eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

PHOTOS: Hundreds gather in downtown Victoria for Extinction Rebellion climate protest

The rally is the kickoff to the Global Climate Strike Week of Action

Hundreds of foreign species continue to wash along B.C. coast following Japanese tsunami

The Royal BC Museum is home to thousands of samples collected along the west coast of North America

Church bells to ring for 11 minutes in support of Global Climate Strike

Each minute to signify years left to drastically reduce greenhouse gas pollution

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

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

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

Most Read