Crews with the Saanich Fire Department responded to a BBQ fire Wednesday morning. Black Press File.

Saanich fire crew extinguish fire at homeless camp

Officials with the Saanich Fire Department say they will continue to work with residents of the camp at Regina Park to address fire safety issues after a propane BBQ used for cooking caught fire Wednesday morning.

Brock Henson, assistant deputy chief with the Saanich Fire Department, said excessive grease caused the fire. He said crews responded to Regina Park at around 7:30 a.m. after a resident of the surrounding neighbourhood had called in the incident.

Crews responded and extinguished the fire, which started when camp resident was cooking.

Henson said the residents were not violating existing fire orders by cooking on site, adding he was not aware of any prior incidents like it.

Henson said he could not comment on the dangers that the incident posed to camp residents and the surrounding neighbourhood, because he was not at the scene himself. But he repeated earlier promises from officials that they would continue to work with residents to ensure safety, especially with temperatures rising.

According to the Saanich Fire Department, the fire danger rating is considered high, the second highest rating on a scale of four, and officials with the Saanich Fire Department took to social media Wednesday to stress fire safety.

Wednesday’s incident came after police Friday arrested, Chrissy Brett, one of the camp leaders following a confrontation over fire safety issues, and before Thursday’s potluck that camp residents are organizing.

The question of fire safety has become one of the dominant narratives around the camp, with camp residents accusing Saanich officials of using the issue to harasses and provoke them, a charge officials have denied.

Late last month, Saanich Fire responded to a grass fire not far from Regina Park and near the offices of the Saanich News. Fire officials later linked the fire to a cigarette that a motorist had likely tossed from a moving vehicle.


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