A home on the Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw First Nation was destroyed by fire last July 6.
Thankfully, no one was injured, however, three dogs succumbed to smoke. Emergency Services Personnel responded to the fire at 5:22 p.m.
Port Hardy Fire Rescue’s Deputy Chief Brent Borg responded to the call with three other members and found the fire had spread through both levels of the home.
Due to issues with the building’s structure and how far the fire had already spread, the decision was made to launch a defensive (exterior) attack on the building.
“Both floors were engulfed in flames. We started defensive due to a lack of manpower. We had to cool it down from outside through the windows,” said Borg, adding that “as soon as we got there, I knew it was time to call in help. Once we had enough manpower at the scene we went offensive, made entry into the building and tried to knock it down.”
Port McNeill Fire Rescue and the Coal Harbour Volunteer Fire Department were called in to help deal with the burning building. Port Hardy RCMP, BC Ambulance Service (BCAS), and BC Hydro personnel were called to the scene as well. “It’s standard procedure to call BCAS to be on standby for the firefighters,” said Borg. “We called in BC Hydro to cut the power to the house.”
Ultimately, despite the crew’s best efforts, the structure was a complete loss. “We couldn’t get upstairs to knock the fire down, that’s how we lost the building,” said Borg. “There was nobody injured, but three dogs succumbed to smoke,” added Fire Chief Schell Nickerson.
All told, 15 firefighters from Port Hardy, six from Port McNeill, and four from Coal Harbour were on scene dealing with the fire for a total of seven hours, finally leaving the scene around 11 p.m. “Everyone was exhausted afterwards,” said Borg.
The cause of the fire is yet to be determined.