Community rallies to support victims of fires

Two serious fires over the last week have put Cowichan Valley folks to the test. And we’ve passed with flying colours.

Sunday’s blaze at the Parkland Apartments in Duncan led to the evacuation of residents of the building, leading to an immediate and effective response by the CVRD.

John Elzinga, administrator of the Island Savings Centre, began welcoming the displaced residents – many of whom had been treated for smoke inhalation – at Heritage Hall where meals were being prepared and sleeping arrangements were being made soon Sunday afternoon.

Elzinga explained the CVRD is committed to providing services of this type as part of its emergency plan.

Even Duncan Mayor Phil Kent and a therapy dog from St. Peter’s Church showed up to comfort the people who arrived from Parkland.

The response from local volunteer fire departments was also impressive.

More than 40 firefighters from Duncan, Cowichan Bay and North Cowichan South End responded and did a splendid job of containing the fire that started in a lower level suite.

Down the highway, in Cobble Hill, the venerable Cobblestone Pub was heavily damaged in a Friday morning fire.

Three local fire departments responded and were able to save the building although damage to the interior of the pub is substantial.

Immediately, Cobble Hill folks began to rally around the beloved pub’s staff and owners. Offers of temporary jobs materialized instantly and a GoFundMe campaign is in the works.

It’s heart-warming to see such an outpouring of support from the community when events like this occur.

And it’s another reminder of just how vital the Cowichan Valley fire departments are. The volunteers are well-trained and committed to what they do but they are, after all, volunteers responding like true professionals.

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