Workshop on Martin road burned to the ground in early morning fire

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, August 8 2017

A fire on Martin Road on the morning of Tuesday, August 1, is one of the largest in recent Gabriola memory, according to Fire Chief Rick Jackson.

The structure fire completely destroyed a workshop belonging to Bob Rooks and Marlana Smith on the uphill side of Martin Road.

Jackson said the original call came in at 4:44 a.m. from someone across Degnen Bay who saw the flames but was unable to give an address.

A second call provided an address, and the duty officer was on scene in five minutes, relaying to the incoming firefighters that there was a fully-involved structure fire. Gabriola RCMP and BC Ambulance Service were also called to the scene.

The interior of the workshop which caved in after catching fire in the morning of August 1, 2017. Photo courtesy Mike Phillips

The size of the fire was large enough, Jackson said, that the Gabriola Fire Department called the Forestry helicopter crews in Parksville to stand by in case the fire spread to the surrounding trees and brush.

Jackson said the department was able to prevent the bush around the workshop from starting on fire and spreading, but the structure itself is a complete loss, along with all the contents.

“No cause has been determined.”

Cpl. Nathan Dame, Detachment Commander for the Gabriola RCMP, said the cause of the fire is still under investigation by the RCMP.

Jackson said due to the materials inside the workshop, it took a long time for the fire to be put out.

“It took 30 minutes to get it under control, to where it was not spreading. 

“It took till 11:30 a.m. before we got it totally out.

“It was a wood workshop, with lots of supplies.”

Jackson said there was no one injured, either in the initial fire or among those who responded to it.