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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Island Gazette file photo of Port Hardy council.
Port Hardy council to send RCMP officer a letter of congratulations

Mayor Dennis Dugas said Corp. Chris Voller ‘obviously earned it and he did a great job up here’

The Scott’s jewelry boxes and whales’ tails pedestal bowls. (Debra Lynn photo)
Port Alice woodworking business flourishes with word-of-mouth promotion

The Scotts have depended on local promotion and word-of-mouth connections to expand their business

Renovations are underway at the Old Schoolhouse as Cafe Guido gets ready to turn it into the Copper & Kelp Market. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Cafe Guido purchases ‘dying’ Old Schoolhouse store to save it from extinction

After purchasing it they decided to give it a new name, coming up with ‘The Copper & Kelp Market’

A wolf was seen in a resident’s backyard in Port Hardy. (Al Dodd photo)
Conservation officers awaiting reports of wolves at the door in Port Hardy

Wildlife officials need more direct concrete information before reacting, as social media buzzes

Gourmet donuts made by Jesus Poem and Athena Guy. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Italian gourmet donuts a hit in the North Island

Poem said the feedback on the gourmet donuts has been fantastic

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Vivian Hermansen, Snuneymuxw First Nation, initiator of petition e-3281. Photo by Karen Evans.
Status card wait times an example of systemic racism, says Campbell River woman

Snuneymuxw woman launches petition as people waiting up to two years, as passports take three weeks

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Interior Health locks out Kelowna martial arts gym following COVID violations

Actions were taken after all other steps to gain compliance were exhausted, says health authority

A man who allegedly spat at and yelled racial slurs at an Asian family was arrested for hate-motivated assault Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Arrest made after man spits, yells anti-Asian racial slurs at Victoria mom and kids

The man was arrested for hate-motivated assault near Quadra Elementary School Tuesday

A lady wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada may find it challenging to reach herd immunity from COVID-19, experts say

Level of immunity among the population changes with the variants, especially the more transmissible strains

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

The courthouse in Nanaimo, B.C. (News Bulletin file)
Island man sentenced in Nanaimo after causing a dog unnecessary pain and suffering

Kiefer Tyson Giroux, 26, of Nanoose Bay, given six-month sentence

Following a one-year pause due to the pandemic, the Snowbirds were back in the skies over the Comox Valley Wednesday (May 5) morning. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

Most Read