A massive fire destroyed a home on Waynes Road on the Stz’uminus Reserve outside Chemainus Monday morning.
Five of the six occupants were at home at the time plus the family dog, but all managed to get out safely.
The fire was fully involved when firefighters from the Crofton, Chemainus and Ladysmith fire departments arrived on the scene.
Relatives in neighbouring houses watched with sinking hearts as the fire quickly spread, but were glad for the safety of their loved ones.
“It’s horrifying,” Wayne Guerin told CHEK News. “They got the clothes on their back.”
Tammy Gibson’s daughter was among those inside when the fire broke out.
“Within minutes, it’s just gone,” she observed of the house.
William Pierre, 50, was obviously distraught as he watched the flames devour the home.
“It started in the carport,” he told the Chemainus Courier. “We just all took off. We saw the smoke coming out.”
His youngest son was in town at the time, he said, but came back immediately once he heard what was happening.
The other occupants included Pierre’s wife, a daughter and her boyfriend and another son.
Other family members live quite close, including George Gibson, who’s been in the same residence for 63 years. He expects to help out Pierre, his brother-in-law, and others in the family as required and more in the neighbourhood are likely to do all they can as well during this difficult time.
“I can’t let them be out in the cold,” Gibson reasoned.
He observed the fire from his deck and “it just started underneath the carport,” he said. “All of a sudden, it went ‘bang’ all over the place. She went up really fast.”
The stubborn fire kept firefighters busy for several hours as it continued to spread throughout the house, leaving just a skeleton of the structure at the end.
Just when firefighters seemed to have it contained, the flames accelerated again and huge, thick smoke could be seen shooting into the sky for miles.
Chemainus Road was closed in both directions while hoses were spread from a hydrant on the other side of the road to the site.