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Family escapes, dog does not as fire turns B.C. house into ‘total loss’

Other pets managed to get out in afternoon blaze in Mill Bay on Vancouver Island
A Mill Bay family “lost everything” in a fire on Saturday afternoon. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

A man was taken to hospital and a dog died as flames destroyed a home in Mill Bay on Saturday afternoon.

According to Mill Bay fire chief Ron Beck, the call for a structure fire on Arbutus Terrace came in at 4:11 p.m. on Saturday. The Shawnigan Lake and Cowichan Bay fire departments were summoned for mutual aid, for a total of more than 30 firefighters, and the fire was under control within an hour, although crews were unable to save the house, which Beck called “a total loss.”

“Our major focus was the forest behind,” Beck said. “We wanted to prevent anything like a wildfire, and we were darn lucky we didn’t get one.”

The BC Wildfire service was also called to the scene, and a couple of small spot fires in the forest were put down quickly.

“Luckily we didn’t have the wind that usually comes off the ocean that time of day,” Beck said on Monday morning. “Otherwise we would probably still be there.”

Firefighters were at the scene until 3 a.m. on Sunday as it was.

According to neighbours, the house was home to a family of three. The father suffered burns in the blaze, while the other family members escaped. Two cats escaped the fire. There was also a pair of dogs. One escaped the house and was later found on the beach by Animal Control, while the other was later determined to have died in the fire.

The Mill Bay fire department also has five firefighters helping to battle wildfires in the Oliver area in the Interior. Four firefighters and a truck left last week, and another member travelled to join them on Sunday.

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Kevin Rothbauer

About the Author: Kevin Rothbauer

Kevin Rothbauer is the sports reporter for the Cowichan Valley Citizen
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