Phase 4 house saved through actions of home owners and firefighters

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, March 27 2019

The Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department was called out at 8am on Friday, March 22 to in the “Phase 4” area of Gabriola for a possible structure fire.

Fire Captain Will Sprogis, who was Duty Officer for the call-out, said the actions of the residents of the home probably saved the house.

“The home owners were alerted to the fire from their smoke detectors, all three [detectors] in the home were functioning well.”

The residents found the room one fire, and as they exited the home closed all the doors in the home behind them.

Sprogis said, “that’s what really saved the building, by getting the doors closed, and not panicking and just running out.”

Cause of the fire is under investigation, but it appears to have started as a chimney fire which spread into the building. The occupants of the home were not injured.

Twenty-three members of the Fire Department were on scene for the fire. Sprogis said having the auxiliaries as part of that, “was great.”

One of the duties auxiliaries are trained for is to drive the water tankers between where a fire is happening; and the fire hydrants the department pulls from. By having auxiliaries doing the shuttle tanker duty, the frontline firefighters can be focused on the fire itself. Sprogis said this is the third structure fire the auxiliaries have been on scene for.

Sprogis said response time to Phase 4 was between seven and eight minutes.

If the connection road between Church Road and Spruce Avenue were open, he said response time could have been four or five minutes, possibly even three.

He said the Gabriola Firefighters Association is hosting an Open House on April 6 between 10am and 2pm. Demonstrations will be set up by the firefighters, as well as the RDN, Gabriola Emergency Support Services, and the Gabriola HAM Radio operators.

Also coming up for the Fire Department is working with BC Forestry crews and the Regional District of Nanaimo to clear out brush in the new part of the 707 Community Park. Sprogis said the Forestry crew of six will be staying at the Albert Reed Memorial Fire Hall #1 while they are on island.

“They’ve got extensive work to do through the park.”