Firefighters from Saanich Fire Department survey the damage to a tent in Regina Park after a fire broke out Sunday shortly after 12 p.m. No one was in the tent at the time of the blaze and no injuries were reported. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

VIDEO: Fire torches home at B.C. tent city

Saanich’s Camp Namegans residents able to extinguish fire crews arrived, no injuries reported

A fire that broke out shortly after 12 p.m. Sunday caused an explosion that left one man’s home torched at the tent city in Saanich’s Regina Park.

Residents of Camp Namegans – home to roughly 100 people since April 19 – were able to quickly extinguish the blaze before it spread to any nearby structures, said camp manager Chrissy Brett.

Charles Leslie Walkus, who will celebrate his birthday tomorrow, said he had just walked away from the tent he’s been living in for roughly two months, and was chatting with Brett when he turned to see smoke in the direction he’d come from and yelled “Fire!”

“We rushed around and grabbed fire extinguishers and water to try and put it out as soon as possible,” he said. “That probably took at least five or more minutes to get it out, but we did it all before the fire department got here.”

The camp has fire extinguishers thanks to donations from a homeless outreach group, friends, and a local fire protection company as well as one resident who has their own.

“It took four fire extinguishers, and a water pump fire extinguisher and a few bottles of water to be able to put it out before the fire department was able to respond,” she said.

RELATED: Province delivers notice of unauthorized occupation to Saanich tent city Camp Namegans

RELATED: Saanich couple find place to call home at tent city

The fire torched Walkus’ tent in which he had some clothing and other belongings including a jerrycan and butane torch he believes led to an explosion, the result of a poorly discarded cigarette he thinks may have caused the blaze.

“[Charles] immediately evacuated the tents closest to him when we ran down there,” said Brett. Minor damage was done to a neighbouring tent’s tarp but no one was injured.

Brett said the camp has reached out to Saanich Fire Department asking to reload their fire extinguishers but was told that’s something that Saanich Fire Department “does not do.”

“I think it shows the 115 people that Saanich Fire Department characterized as unconscious and incapable of being taught any fire suppression kind of training that people have just common sense and life knowledge to be able to address a fire like this,” Brett said.

RELATED: Advocate expects Saanich to allow tents to return to Regina Park once hazards removed

RELATED: Saanich rejects delay for homeless camp injunction

Brock Henson, assistant deputy chief of the Saanich Fire Department, said crews responded to a report of a structure fire at Regina Park at 12:05 p.m.

“When they arrived they found a smoldering tent that had completely burnt and they continued to extinguish that,” Henson said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

@kristyn_anthony

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Repen: FOI data proves Telkwans being ripped off by ICBC

Former Telkwa mayor received a response from ICBC and says the results don’t look good for residents

Fires still burning near Telegraph Creek

BC Wildfire Service assures residents of a proactive plan heading into wildfire season

Northwest entrepreneurs pitch their plans for cash prizes

ThriveNorth announces 12 finalists in this year’s business challenge

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

Stellar musicians, performers recognized at 54th Pacific Northwest Music Festival

More than 150 awards, scholarships given out to Northwest B.C. participants

Dashcam captures close call between minivan, taxi at busy Vancouver intersection

To make the footage more nerve-wracking, a pedestrian can be seen standing at the corner

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

Most Read