It took four fire departments and 35 firefighters to extinguish a blaze in Sooke Saturday afternoon that left two sets of tenants without homes and three cats unaccounted for.
The first calls came in at 12:20 p.m., reporting heavy smoke coming from the garage of a duplex on Wright Road, said Sooke Deputy Fire Chief Matt Barney.
When crews arrived, they found heavy fire and smoke eating away at the duplex. East Sooke, Metchosin and Otter Point fire departments soon joined, bringing the total to 35 firefighters battling the blaze.
Firefighters quickly learned that one side of the duplex was vacant when the fire started and neighbours had notified the two people occupying the other side in time to get them out. Two dogs, however, remained in the vacant side and firefighters had to rescue them.
By 3:30 p.m., crews were cleaning up the scene. Barney said three cats remained unaccounted for, but that there was no sign of them in the wreckage. As far as damage goes, he said the duplex is likely a total write-off.
Both sets of tenants are safe and have been put in touch with emergency support services.
Barney said crews will likely be cleared out by 4 p.m. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
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