Two cats perished in a Sunday evening fire that demolished a fifth-wheel home and older abandoned building.
Residents of the Wood Lake Terrace RV & Campground stood around in shock Monday morning, looking over the remains of two prominent buildings in their small community.
The destruction of the old abandoned building has left several residents without power, several more without water and all without access to internet or WiFi.
At this point the neighbours believe the fire started in the fifth-wheel while the home owner was out. The homeowner, who is also the caretaker at the park, was at a friends when the fire started. Her two pet cats unfortunately could not escape the fire.
Lake Country Fire Department Fire Inspector Eric DeGelder was at the scene Monday, and says they are still trying to determine whether the fire started inside the fifth-wheel or was caused by a previously reported bon-fire nearby.
“Right now I have five witnesses telling me that it started inside the trailer. There was also a witness who said there was a large bonfire and sparks from that flew over. So, I am still trying to determine where that bonfire allegedly was,” says DeGelder.
He says there was a very strong southerly wind that blew the sparks from the fifth-wheel to the abandoned building, causing the fire to quickly spread.
When he arrived on the scene Sunday he says the heat off the fire was enormous and given the high winds it could have easily spread to the nearby RV's.
“We looked down and we saw the fire in her unit,” says one neighbour who lives several units above the fire. “I looked out the window and I saw this and I yelled at my partner 'Look at this!' Then I called 9-11.”
She says she ran down the driveway with a bucket of water and saw the fire was still contained to the fifth-wheel but says that soon changed.
“We never have wind but last night was windy and it got under the eaves (of the abandoned building) and it was off,” adds the woman.
Her partner says within 15-minutes the fifth-wheel was destroyed and the fire had spread rapidly to the old vacant building. The fire also caused several nearby trees to candle.
Residents say it took crews about 15-minutes to arrive and they were shocked when they quickly ran out of water.
DeGelder says there was not a fire hydrant close enough to hook up directly, but says crews had multiple tankers attacking the fire while others filled up and then switched off non-stop until the flames were out.
The neighbours tell Castanet fire crews did an admirable job stopping the fire from spreading to, or even melting, the three nearby homes.
“Once they got here they did a really good job,” says one neighbour. “They really held it back here good. They did a phenomenal job.”
Those living in the closest RV, saved by crews, were out-of-province at the time. Fortunately quick thinking neighbours were able to rescue their beloved Harley Davidson motorcycles from beside the fire.
DeGelder says he is currently waiting for the BC Safety Authority to arrive so they can check over some electrical concerns that may have started the fire within the fifth-wheel.