Firefighters from Saanich Fire Department survey the damage to a tent in Regina Park after a fire broke out Sunday shortly after 12 p.m. No one was in the tent at the time of the blaze and no injuries were reported. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

VIDEO: Fire torches home at B.C. tent city

Saanich’s Camp Namegans residents able to extinguish fire crews arrived, no injuries reported

A fire that broke out shortly after 12 p.m. Sunday caused an explosion that left one man’s home torched at the tent city in Saanich’s Regina Park.

Residents of Camp Namegans – home to roughly 100 people since April 19 – were able to quickly extinguish the blaze before it spread to any nearby structures, said camp manager Chrissy Brett.

Charles Leslie Walkus, who will celebrate his birthday tomorrow, said he had just walked away from the tent he’s been living in for roughly two months, and was chatting with Brett when he turned to see smoke in the direction he’d come from and yelled “Fire!”

“We rushed around and grabbed fire extinguishers and water to try and put it out as soon as possible,” he said. “That probably took at least five or more minutes to get it out, but we did it all before the fire department got here.”

The camp has fire extinguishers thanks to donations from a homeless outreach group, friends, and a local fire protection company as well as one resident who has their own.

“It took four fire extinguishers, and a water pump fire extinguisher and a few bottles of water to be able to put it out before the fire department was able to respond,” she said.

RELATED: Province delivers notice of unauthorized occupation to Saanich tent city Camp Namegans

RELATED: Saanich couple find place to call home at tent city

The fire torched Walkus’ tent in which he had some clothing and other belongings including a jerrycan and butane torch he believes led to an explosion, the result of a poorly discarded cigarette he thinks may have caused the blaze.

“[Charles] immediately evacuated the tents closest to him when we ran down there,” said Brett. Minor damage was done to a neighbouring tent’s tarp but no one was injured.

Brett said the camp has reached out to Saanich Fire Department asking to reload their fire extinguishers but was told that’s something that Saanich Fire Department “does not do.”

“I think it shows the 115 people that Saanich Fire Department characterized as unconscious and incapable of being taught any fire suppression kind of training that people have just common sense and life knowledge to be able to address a fire like this,” Brett said.

RELATED: Advocate expects Saanich to allow tents to return to Regina Park once hazards removed

RELATED: Saanich rejects delay for homeless camp injunction

Brock Henson, assistant deputy chief of the Saanich Fire Department, said crews responded to a report of a structure fire at Regina Park at 12:05 p.m.

“When they arrived they found a smoldering tent that had completely burnt and they continued to extinguish that,” Henson said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

@kristyn_anthony

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Plane crashes into Nelson supermarket parking lot

Pilot and passenger have minor injuries

Trail invited to ‘Climb’

70,000-kilometre hiking challenge to support people living with dementia

Shady dealings invade B.C. rental market, online sales

Advisory from the Better Business Bureau

Adrian Dix: It’s time to renew the fight to stop the spread

We must recommit to using our COVID sense to keep us safe, stop the spread and save lives

Phase three presents new opportunities for Kootenay tourism

Message from MLA Michelle Mungall and MLA Katrine Conroy

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Leave your deets when dining: Restaurants taking personal info to trace COVID-19

Health officials say indoor dining presents a higher risk

Most Read