Crews have started to clean up the aftermath of a Sidney fire that has left a family of three with an uncertain future (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Crews have started to clean up the aftermath of a Sidney fire that has left a family of three with an uncertain future (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Fire official describes Sidney fire as ‘accidental’

Mike Harman, deputy chief, says cause of fire may be available by Tuesday

An official with the Sidney Volunteer Fire Department says the fire that damaged a Sidney house Saturday afternoon remains under investigation, but is currently “deemed to be accidental.”

Mike Harman, deputy chief, made that observation less than 24 hours after members of three area departments responded to the fire on Beacon Avenue West near the Victoria International Airport. Bob and Janine Taverner were living in the home as renters with their five-year-old daughter Georgia. All three escaped without any injuries, but the fire caused extensive damage to the modest bungalow.

Harman said the man was working in the garage, then left to do an errand, with the wife and child remaining in the home.

“They noticed out the front window smoke and fire,” he said. “They grabbed the family dog, they exited the structure [and] called 911.” When asked about the nature of the work, Harman did not give specifics.

RELATED: Saanich Peninsula rallies around Sidney family with young daughter after fire

“He [the man] said he was just working in his garage,” said Harman. When asked about any possible link between the work in the garage and the fire, Harman said “that part is under investigation.”

Harman added that the department might have an answer about the cause of the fire by Tuesday.

Harman could confirm that the woman heard what one account has described as “a loud bang in the garage” before seeing fire and smoke. “It actually sounded as if a tree had fallen on the house is what she said to me,” said Harman.

The family has received support through the Peninsula Emergency Measures Organization (PEMO). “The emergency social services team has looked after the family for 72 hours,” he said. ‘They provided accommodations, meal vouchers, and we have always looked after getting them some additional clothing and things like that.”

Not one, but two fundraising campaigns are also currently underway to help the family, which moved to Sidney in early August according to the Facebook account of Janine Taverner, whom friends describe as a stay-at-home mom and entrepreneur, who runs her business, Rustic Tavern Illustrations. Bob Taverner works as a truck driver.

According to one of the fundraising campaigns, the fire caused extensive damage to the home, but Harman could not provide a dollar estimate at this stage.

Harman said crews responded to the fire just after 4 p.m. Saturday. About 30 firefighters from three departments — Sidney, North Saanich, and Central Saanich — responded to the incident, either on-site or supplying back up coverage. Sidney/North Saanich RCMP, Central Saanich Police, and British Columbia Ambulance Service also responded.

“We had trucks on-site pretty quick [and] we had the main body of the fire knocked down in about 20 minutes or so,” said Harman, who praised the family’s response to the fire.

“This family knew what to do when they encountered a fire,” he said. “They grabbed themselves, they didn’t grab belongings, they existed the structure, they went to their meeting point, which for them was out on the street, and called 911 right away,” he said.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Don Devenney is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Community Builder of the year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
West Shore volunteer’s efforts an exercise in adventurous pursuits

Don Devenney is the 2021 recipient of the Community Builder Award

The construction zone remains for now at Clover Point, but plans for a new pedestrian zone and partially closed traffic loop were approved by Victoria councillors on Thursday. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Victoria council compromises with partial closure of Clover Point

Option preserves parking 14 spots facing ocean, creates more pedestrian space

A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong winds predicted for Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issues warning for Thursday afternoon

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

(Black Press Media file photo)
Trees Cannabis to reignite downtown Victoria location as licensed store

The dispensary will reopen its 230 Cook St. location on Saturday

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read