Woman charged with arson in relation to Duncan fire

A fire destroyed several units at a housing complex on Auchinachie Road Tuesday night. (Damian Joulie photo)
A fire destroyed several units at a housing complex on Auchinachie Road Tuesday night. (Damian Joulie photo)
A fire destroyed several units at a housing complex on Auchinachie Road Tuesday night. (Damian Joulie photo)
A fire destroyed several units at a housing complex on Auchinachie Road Tuesday night. (Damian Joulie photo)
A fire destroyed several units at a housing complex on Auchinachie Road Tuesday night. (Damian Joulie photo)
Several units in a housing complex on Auchinachie Road were extensively damaged in a fire Tuesday night. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

A Duncan woman has been charged with one count of arson damaging property after a fire swept through a housing complex with five living units in it on Auchinachie Road just outside Duncan early on Feb. 5.

Martin Drakeley, North Cowichan’s manager of fire and bylaw services, said fire crews from the South End and Maple Bay fire halls responded to the call at 2:26 a.m. and found one of the units fully engulfed in flames.

He said it took 25 firefighters and eight firefighting vehicles to put the blaze out over the next three hours.

Drakeley said there were no injuries among the approximately 12 people who were in the living units when the fire began, and no one had to be rescued.

Rhiannon Heather Midgley was in Duncan court Thursday morning on charges related to the fire.

RELATED: Fire crews, RCMP dispatched after vandals light fire

She was arrested at the scene on Feb. 5, and was the resident of the unit where the fire started. She has been remanded into custody.

Arson investigators are continuing to examine the scene and gather evidence.

Some of the units on the opposite end of the complex where the blaze was centred were spared the worst of the fire and water damage, but the homes remained evacuated on the morning of Feb. 6 until the tenants are given the green light to enter them after they are inspected.

“The people were assessed on scene and some were taken in by the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s community services department,” he said.

RELATED: North Cowichan firefighters battle flames Friday night

Pat Toutant, a neighbour on Auchinachie Road, said he awoke just after 2 a.m. and saw the fire and tenants from the housing complex assembling on the street.

He said he went outside in his pajamas and invited seven or eight of them, including seniors and young children, into his home to keep warm and get their bearings.

“They all seemed OK, although they were pretty shook up and nervous,” Toutant said.

“I put on a pot of coffee to help mellow them out and then there were fire trucks everywhere setting up to fight the fire. A little after that, people from the [community services department] came and took some of the tenants to hotels, while others went to stay with their families.”

“It’s a tragedy that so many people are displaced from their homes due to this fire,” said Operations Support NCO, Sergeant Trevor Busch. “Thankfully no one was injured.”

If you have any further information regarding this crime, please call the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at cowichancrimestoppers.com to leave a secure tip online, or call 1-800-222-8477.

House fire

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Search and rescue crews continue to look for missing Black Creek hiker

Searchers scouring Strathcona Park near Gold River for experienced 65-year-old on 40-kilometre trek

Vancouver Island North’s tourism bursting back to life

The North Island was buzzing the first weekend of July after Phase 3 allowed in-province travel

North Island Elementary students published in short story collection

Five Fort Rupert Elementary students are now bonafide authors

MP asks Minister of Transport for review of safe crew levels on new ferries

The new ferries were approved to run with smaller crew sizes, raising safety concerns

$8,179,919 in grant funding announced for North Island communities

This local funding is part of over $228 million in grants going to B.C. communities.

Police issue warning after baby comes across suspected drugs in Kamloops park

The 11-month-old girl’s mother posted photos on social media showing a small plastic bag containing a purple substance

Collision results in train derailment just east of Golden

The derailment occurred Sunday night, according to a statement from CP

Lower Mainland woman says llama farming neighbour shot her 11-month-old pup

Young dog was on owner’s Maple Ridge property when it was killed on June 21

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

B.C. highway widening job reduced, costs still up $61 million

Union-only project scales back work to widen Trans-Canada

Greater Victoria nanny pleads guilty to child porn, sexual interference charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to slew of sex crimes

Most Read