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

We Wai Kai and B.C. sign incremental Treaty Agreement, move a step closer to treaty

The We Wai Kai Nation and the Province of British Columbia have… Continue reading

B.C. salmon farm inspection deal reached with Indigenous people

Monitoring to determine if any Broughton region farms stay open

Compromise found on grocery store size in south Campbell River subdivision

Approved increase less than developer wanted, but will still allow for some flexibility

City of Campbell River looks to improve environmental protection during development

Changes to mapping environmentally sensitive areas and how permitting process works is under review

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

One-in-five British Columbians think they’ll win big while gambling: study

Roughly 58 per cent of British Columbians bought at least one lottery ticket in past year

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

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

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Oak Bay father’s testimony at murder trial like plot of ‘bad low-budget movie:’ Crown

Crown alleged Andrew Berry’s ‘entire story of Christmas Day is a lie’

Most Read