Six fortunate to escape terrifying early-morning fire in Greater Victoria

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)
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 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).
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)
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)
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)

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 mobbing 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

Just Posted

John Hart Dam near Campbell River, B.C. BC Hydro photo
Campbell River watershed forecasts improve with rainfall

BC Hydro projects slightly higher resevoir levels and river flows after rainy May and June

North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. Photo contributed
COMMENTARY: MLA Michele Babchuk talks the future of forestry

‘These forests are important to every single one of us, myself included’

Heather Gordon Murphy (l-r) and Jan Wade, chair and executive director, respectively, of the Downtown Campbell River Business Improvement Association, are working to make the city’s core a safer and more welcoming place.
Downtown Campbell River BIA working to change perceptions

Downtown Campbell River BIA is establishing nighttime security patrols and targeting beautification

Carl Sweet (left) speaks with Rod Burns before the march from Logger Mike to MLA Michele Babchuk’s office in Campbell River. The men were from two different sides of the issue of old growth logging in B.C. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Old growth forest counter-rallies converge on the streets of Campbell River

Pro-forestry and preserve old growth supporters argue and debate in front of MLA’s office

A strong showing from people who support the forest industry co-opted a protest against logging old growth trees on Vancouver Island that was planned for downtown Campbell River June 10. Photo by Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror
Pro-forestry supporters move in on anti-old-growth logging rally

Debates and signs dominate the scene in downtown Campbell River

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read