South End firefighters were called out during the dinner hours Saturday evening to a fire at an empty house at the end of Arnhem Road in North Cowichan.
The street is off North Cowichan’s Lakes Road and is near an active development site.
The call came in at 6 p.m. as a structure fire though nearby residents reported seeing and smelling smoke but no flames early on. That changed quickly.
About a dozen citizens watched firefighters work near the scene while others gathered along Lakes Road.
Crews used a ladder truck to get water on the roof while others were tackling the flames from the inside.
The fire quickly spread despite the firefighters’ constant work.
Firefighters also looked for an additional hydrant from which to draw water without using one that would require the closure of Lakes Road.
The ended up running a hose from a hydrant on Trillium Terrace, through some neighbours’ homes and to the scene.
Brad Coleman, deputy chief at the South End Fire Hall, said firefighters from his department fought the raging blaze for three hours before finally extinguishing it.
He said the cause of the fire is still under investigation
Coleman said the house was supposed to be abandoned at the time, but it’s expected there may have been some inhabitants squatting there.
He said no one was found at the site, and there have been no reports of injuries.
“We found it difficult to get close to the fire because the site is under development and the developers had placed equipment to keep out traffic,” Coleman said.
“The house was almost completely destroyed, and what was left after the fire was put out had to be torn down.”