Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a bush fire along the Millstone River on Sunday afternoon. GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

Explosion at homeless camp causes brush fire on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews haul hundreds of metres of hose down ravine

Firefighters had to climb down a ravine to extinguish a brush fire caused by an explosion at a small homeless camp along the Millstone River.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews were called to the 600 block of Rosehill Street at about 2:45 p.m. Sunday. Assistant chief Martin Drakeley said the call came in as an explosion and bush fire.

“When [firefighters] arrived, they found a lot of flame and smoke at the bottom of the gully next to the Millstone River,” he said.

Drakeley said it appeared a man living at a campsite there had caused an explosion.

“It involved fire and some type of explosive gas, propane maybe; we’re not sure at this point,” Drakeley said. “It basically decimated his whole camp.”

A first responder on scene said no one was hurt in the fire.

A witness said the resident of the camp had built some type of structure, but Drakeley said it’s hard to tell.

“It’s so badly damaged down there. Everything’s burned up,” he said.

He said investigators will be at the site Monday, to try to determine the cause and also because the incident could have started a more serious interface fire.

“If that had been in summer time, the bank is right there and fire travels up bank to those old hotels and a lot of the people are infirm in those places…” he said. “Thankfully, it was still a little bit damp and the guys were able to get there quickly and extinguish it.”

The steep bank caused access challenges, but a trail led right to the camp. Crews hauled more than 350 metres of hose in fighting the fire.

Drakeley asked that motorists be reminded not to drive over fire hoses after four vehicles did just that on Sunday. He said at structure fires, in particular, momentarily losing water can be detrimental to firefighters’ health.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Oak Bay plants new program for National Tree Day

Tree canopy grows from final wishes of community association founder

Bear shot with crossbow arrow believed dead

BC Conservation, police track injured black bear’s blood trail near Lost Lake Road

Bank robber targets Langford RBC

RCMP say robber produced a note, left with cash

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Pettersson has 4 points as Canucks dump Ottawa 6-4

Vancouver wins NHL pre-season tilt in Abbotsford

British man returns to Yukon to tipple his own toe in long-running tradition

So-called sourtoe cocktail is a shot of whisky with a mummified human toe in it

Poll suggests Canadians concerned about fake news, but struggle to spot it

56 per cent of respondents admitted to reading or sharing inaccurate news

Province announces $3.5 million in funding for community solutions to overdose crisis

Grants up to $50,000 will be available for municipalities working with a regional health authority

Conservatives’ plan to ease mortgage stress-test rules may raise debt and prices

Andrew Scheer vows to loosen rules around stress test and remove it altogether for mortgage renewals

B.C. mom urges patience after rude comments while out with toddlers

People asked to be better and to help each other

U.S. wrestler says viral speeding ticket video was staged

WWE wrestler Lacey Evans says she does not condone disrespecting law enforcement officers

‘Own a piece of history’: Beachcombers location Molly’s Reach up for sale

‘This is one of B.C.’s most photographed buildings’

Most Read