Uninsured couple loses home of 40 years in Sooke Road wildfire
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Thursday, July 13, 2017 6:08PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 13, 2017 6:26PM PDT
A husband and wife whose home was destroyed in Wednesday’s fast-moving brush fire along Sooke Road have lost everything and don't have insurance to replace it.
While surveying the damage at his log cabin Thursday, Phil Griffith said he was too distraught to speak to media on-camera.
He confirmed that he and his wife made it out of the blaze without injuries – he was sleeping at the time – but they lost the log cabin they’ve lived in for 40 years and mostly everything left inside.
“The fire in this particular building got into the roof line. It’s a very old building…it was an original log house and they’ve added on to it,” said Metchosin Fire Chief Stephanie Dunlop. “Most of the damage is in the roof area but then the house is kind of destroyed from all of the water damage, trying to put the fire out.”
According to Dunlop, the blaze could’ve been much worse.
It started as a series of spot fires along Sooke Road that broke out at around 3:30 p.m., with each one growing in size along the north side of the route between Sooke and Metchosin.
“When I arrived on scene I was a little bit in awe of what I saw and that was just a lot of smoke and a lot of flame,” she said.
The blaze spread from brush to trees and then Griffith’s home, causing a shutdown of Sooke Road as RCMP evacuated nearby homes out of precaution.
In addition to Metchosin crews, mutual aid was called in from four neighbouring fire departments, while the BC Wildfire Service sent in two initial attack crews and two helicopters.
The fire was 100 per cent contained just after 6 p.m., with crews able to save a handful of neighbouring homes and family pets.
Now investigators are turning their attention to what sparked the fire, and while they haven’t confirmed a cause, witnesses are pointing to a motorhome seen shooting sparks into the bush as it drove along Sooke Road.
Dave Del Castillo said as he was heading home from work on Sooke Road, driving past the flames, his apprentice who was about five minutes ahead called him.
“He saw a motorhome that was shooting sparks of what appeared to be molten metal that were shooting from the rear of the vehicle into the brush at those periodic spots,” said Del Castillo. “He said that he figured it was going to cause a fire.”
West Shore RCMP say they have the licence plate of the RV and are investigating whether the driver should be held responsible.
With a report from CTV Vancouver Island's Chandler Grieve