A fire at an abandoned house on Cowichan Tribes land on Koksilah Road, just south of Miller Road, in the early morning hours of Jan. 7 destroyed the building.
Ian MacDonald, manager of building inspection and bylaw enforcement at the Cowichan Valley Regional District, and his family were driving on Miller Road on their way home after watching the new Avatar movie just after midnight and saw flames through the trees.
He said they turned south on Koksilah Road and were the first ones at the scene as fire was blazing through the house’s roof.
“My wife called 911 and I was going to see if there was anyone still inside the building, but I noticed it was boarded up and had a large fence around it to keep people out,” MacDonald said.
“There was a trailer in the back and I knocked on its door, but there was no one there. We then waited for the fire department which was quickly on scene. There may have been some homeless people there at some point, but we never saw anyone.”
MacDonald said it only took a few minutes before the whole house was engulfed in flames.
“There was a fire hydrant close by, so the firefighters quickly got a lot of water on the structure,” he said.
“When we saw the firefighters had the fire under control, we went on home.”
The Municipality of North Cowichan has a contract with Cowichan Tribes for firefighting responsibilities in that area.
Martin Drakeley, North Cowichan’s manager of fire and bylaw services, said firefighters from the South End and Maple Bay fire departments responded to the call at approximately 12:15 a.m. Saturday morning.
He said two fire trucks and 16 firefighters took about two hours to extinguish the blaze.
“We’ve been called to that house to deal with fires a number of times before,” Drakeley said.
“It was fully involved when we got there Saturday morning. The fire is currently under investigation by the RCMP.”