Deck was ‘engulfed’ in flames, neighbour says of Esquimalt house fire

No injuries; unaccounted-for dog safe, according to fire chief

Flames reached 15 feet high and engulfed the entire back deck of an Esquimalt home on Friday afternoon, according to a neighbour.

Emergency crews responded to the fire, at a house on the 1100 block of Craigflower Road, at roughly 4:30 p.m. Neighbour Del Flesh said he was alerted of the flames when another neighbour started yelling.

“She says, ‘There’s a fire. Get out of your house,’” he recalled. “I looked over and the deck was engulfed in flames.”

No one was injured in the blaze. Esquimalt Fire Chief Chris Jancowski said at about 5 p.m. crews were still searching for one dog, but a later update from the fire chief indicated the dog was safe and accounted for.

An occupant of the home told fire crews a battery charger was left on the deck, according to Jancowski, but the fire chief was not willing to confirm the battery charger sparked the flames.

The cause was still unknown, he said Friday evening, but crews will be looking at both the battery charger and a barbecue as possible causes.

“Those will be areas we look at for sure, as part of our investigation, but we just can’t confirm that yet,” Jancowski said.

Flesh told Black Press Media he saw a propane tank catch fire, after flames started to surround the tank.

“It started to hiss and it was basically shooting flames out,” he said. “I’m glad that it let go that way, because if it heated up and didn’t let go that way, it would have exploded.”

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He and his father attempted to douse the flames using a garden hose, but their efforts were futile. He also worked to spray water onto his own home, in case the fire spread.

“It was a pretty harrowing 15 minutes, because we were trying to save our house too,” he said. “I hate to sound kind of selfish that way, but I was just worried our house could have caught on fire too.”

Firefighters from four detachments — Esquimalt Fire Rescue, Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, Victoria Fire Department and View Royal Fire Rescue — as well as Victoria police and B.C. Ambulance Service responded.

Smoke was still billowing from the home’s roof shortly after 5 p.m. and firefighters were still working to clean up hot spots in the attic, but, by about 6 p.m., most crews had left the scene.

Traffic was impacted in both directions on Craigflower Road, as crews responded.


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