Sidney Volunteer Fire Department Chief Brett Mikkelsen said crews were ready to deploy to the Okanagan, but a change in weather conditions led to a change in plans. (Black Press Media file photo)

Drilling causes small house fire in Sidney

Firefighters were on notice but not needed to help with Okanagan wildfire

Investigators with the Sidney Volunteer Fire Department say drilling is the likely cause of a structure fire Tuesday evening.

Fire Chief Brett Mikkelsen said drilling through a concrete slab likely caused significant friction and heat which then caused a smouldering fire in the void space of an exterior wall in a single-family home near the corner of Piercy Avenue and Bowerbank Road.

“We found a framing stud that holds up the building as well as some other wood that was definitely burning,” he said. “We managed to keep it confined in one space and it was not spreading rapidly.”

Finding the likely cause of the fire involved some detective work.

“When we arrived, it was quite apparent that there was a fire somewhere, but there were no obvious smoke and fire conditions,” he said. “So we went through quite a process in trying to determine what had gone on in the house and where likely the smell and the smoke was coming from.”

Crews working with the homeowner eventually found the fire, he said. “We had to end up cutting a portion of the exterior wall away and also accessing the interior of the wall from the interior of the home, removing some drywalling.”

Along the way, crews put up tarps to minimize water damage to the home. “I was proud of our people finding the fire and extinguish the fire with minimal damage and disruption to the family, who was living there.”

Mikkelsen said fires caused by drilling probably happen quite often on new construction sites, but their relative openness make it easier for crews to combat them. “This [fire] happened in a renovation where everything was enclosed and you can’t see it,” he said, noting the fire caused minor damage.

RELATED: Sunday fire causes extensive damage to Central Saanich home

Central Saanich and North Saanich fire crews backed up Sidney during Tuesday’s incident, providing mutual-aid coverage.

Several hours earlier, Sidney fire crews joined other emergency crews in helping a cyclist struck at the intersection of Malaview Avenue and Fifth Street.

Mikkelsen said ambulance crews were already looking after the cyclist when firefighters arrived.

Local fire crews also recently heard that they will not be going to the Okanagan Valley to assist with the Christie Mountain Wildfire near Penticton.

RELATED: Evacuation alert partially lifted for Christie Mountain wildfire in Okanagan

“We had everything laid out,” said Mikkelsen. “Fortunately, the weather changed and we got the call on the weekend that we weren’t required, but we basically had guys on two- to three-hours notice to deploy. We are trying to be everything to everybody under some trying times. We are managing to succeed, but it is still a challenge, that is for sure.”


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wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Sidney

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