Shrapnel narrowly missed firefighters in ‘suspicious’ North Island house fire

  • Jun. 25, 2019 4:45 p.m.
Flames destroyed a home at 2335 Henderson Ave. on Tuesday morning. No injuries were reported. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River MirrorFlames destroyed a home at 2335 Henderson Ave. on Tuesday morning. No injuries were reported. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror
Heavy smoke billows from a house fire at the Wei Wai Kum reserve in Campbell River. The smoke was visible from miles away. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River MirrorHeavy smoke billows from a house fire at the Wei Wai Kum reserve in Campbell River. The smoke was visible from miles away. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror
A home on Henderson Avenue was fully involved in fire on Tuesday morning when firefighters arrived on-scene, said Fire Chief Thomas Doherty. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River MirrorA home on Henderson Avenue was fully involved in fire on Tuesday morning when firefighters arrived on-scene, said Fire Chief Thomas Doherty. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror
There were 17 firefighters involved in the Tuesday morning operation at 2335 Henderson Ave. They quelled the house fire and knocked down flames that spread to vinyl siding on a neighbouring home. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River MirrorThere were 17 firefighters involved in the Tuesday morning operation at 2335 Henderson Ave. They quelled the house fire and knocked down flames that spread to vinyl siding on a neighbouring home. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

UPDATE June 26, 9:45 a.m. – Material from exploding propane cylinders narrowly missed firefighters during a blaze on the Wei Wai Kum Nation reserve on Tuesday morning, according to Campbell River Fire Chief Thomas Doherty.

“(T)there were multiple propane tanks venting and on fire, there were a number of explosions occurring,” Doherty said in an email. “There was one explosion that sent metal shrapnel flying, just missing myself and one other firefighter.”

No injuries were reported in the house fire at 2335 Henderson Ave., which authorities have called suspicious.

The building was fully involved when firefighters arrived around 9:20 a.m., Doherty said, shortly after firefighters quelled the blaze.

“We’re treating it as suspicious in nature at this point,” he said.

Flames spread to the vinyl siding of a neighbouring home, but firefighters were able to prevent it from spreading further.

“We were able to knock that down, save that home and protect the remaining homes on either side,” he said.

There were 17 firefighters and several fire trucks involved, Doherty said. Crews remained on scene to watch for hot spots. Firefighters were also receiving health assessments.

Insp. Jeff Preston, detachment commander for the Campbell River RCMP, said the fire was suspicious.

Wei Wai Kum Chief Chris Roberts said he was grateful for the quick action by first responders and the response from residents.

“We’re a tight-knit community,” Roberts said. “When things like this happen, it involves or concerns a lot of people.”

He added he was thankful that neighbouring homes didn’t appear to be damaged and that no one was hurt.

A neighbour who declined to provide her full name said the vinyl siding on her home was “pretty melted” but that insurance would cover the expense.

ALSO READ: Fire in abandoned house deemed suspicious, RCMP say

READ MORE: Fire crews suppress smouldering fire on Highway 19 north of Campbell River

RELATED: Campbell River imposes total fire ban – includes campfires and beach fires

Markell Miller, who lives across the street, said his wife saw a man in the doorway of the house moments before the fire started. She was walking to work at the time, Miller said.

“He was doing something at the doorway there,” he said. “After he left, she (saw) a fire there.”

The man then knocked on the doors of both neighbouring homes after the fire was started, Miller said, but no one was home.

After knocking on the doors, the man “just booked it with his car and took off.”

Smoke from the fire was visible from miles away.

Melissa Lambert, who lives in the area, said she went to check on elders with respiratory issues after seeing heavy smoke billowing from the house. Several elders in the neighbourhood are on oxygen, she said.

“We just wanted to make sure their well-being was looked after,” said Lambert, a nurse with Kwakiutl District Council Health. “They were more panicked about what was going on and the situation in the community than their own health.”

This story was updated on June 26 with more details from the Campbell River Fire Department.

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

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

Egg producers in B.C. aren’t obligated to reveal their production sites. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Not enough local eggs to meet demand: officials

BC Egg Marketing Board doesn’t regulate labelling

The new Malahat Skywalk is expected to be completed by this summer. (Submitted graphic)
Malahat Skywalk expected to be complete by this summer

$15-million project will see 650-metre elevated wooden pathway constructed

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Most Read