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

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 Saanich tent city in Regina Park

Camp Namegans residents able to extinguish fire before Saanich Fire Department 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

Camp NamegansRegina Park

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

Just Posted

Grandmothers to Grandmothers is a campaign that connects Canadian grandmothers with grandmothers in Africa who are caring for children orphaned by AIDS. Here, they are in Kakuto, Uganda in 2018. (Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar photo)
Greater Victoria and African grandmothers celebrate solidarity with virtual concert

Grandmothers to Grandmothers supports women in Africa caring for children orphaned by AIDS

Naloxone is used to treat opioid overdoses. (Black Press Media files)
Island Health issues overdose advisory for Greater Victoria

The advisory directs bystanders to an overdose to call 911 and administer naloxone

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Driver who crashed into Uptown Walmart likely suffering mental health crisis, police say

Man in his early 20s drove through a parkade wall, no serious injuries reported

Supporter Gordy Dodd cheers on HeroWork Victoria executive director Trevor Botkin, who will be in a lift for 36 hours beside Dodd’s Furniture and Mattress on April 16 and 17 to raise funds for the organization’s next project, a makeover of the Salvation Army’s Addiction and Rehabilitation Centre on Johnson Street. (Courtesy HeroWork Victoria)
HeroWork Victoria tackles makeover of Salvation Army rehab centre

Executive director to spend 36 hours living in a lift as fundraiser

West Shore RCMP is seeking information about a collision involving a car and a bicycle on Six Mile Road, near the Island Highway, at 11:30 a.m. on April 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore RCMP seeks information about collision between bike, car

Collision occured on Six Mile Road on April 7 and a bystander got the blue car’s plate number

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. sees 873 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday, decline continues

Hospitalizations up to 377, two more deaths for 1,515 total

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 2, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. NDP ministers defend ‘air tax,’ latest COVID-19 business aid

Empty home tax doesn’t apply to businesses, but space above them

Most Read