A weekend fire at a construction site in north Langford resulted in no injuries, but could add months to the building schedule and delay move-in dates for the new owners.
Firefighters were called around 1:30 p.m. on July 17 to a fire blazing on the roof of a row of townhouses under construction on Echo Valley Place, just off lower Bear Mountain Parkway. A roofing crew had been working, and told firefighters they had a problem with their equipment. An investigation into the direct cause of the blaze is ongoing.
All workers got off the roof safely and managed to remove some hazardous materials on their way down, which made a huge difference, said Langford Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Lance Caven. He specifically noted a large propane tank being used by the roofers, which could have levelled the project had it ignited.
|Sopping wet insulation and charcoal litter the stairs in unit 937 where the roof fire is believed to have started. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)|
Caven was back Monday morning to gather evidence for his investigation. He squelched through water-soaked pink insulation and torn sheets of charred drywall on the main floor.
A hole in the roof, blackened on all sides, acted like a skylight on the dark interior. That was the fire’s point of origin, where firefighters had ripped off the ceiling to get at the fire, he said.
They’d had water hoses directed at the roof, but the fire was hiding underneath, between layers of insulation and drywall. The two-storey homes back onto a steep creek bed, making it impossible for firefighters to access the fire from the back side. Commanders made the call to send firefighters inside the structure to rip open the layers, and attack the flames from below.
Pulling off drywall in hot weather in a full turnout gear is, not surprisingly, exhausting.
“We’d send three to four guys in at a time, and within 15 minutes they had to come out, and had gone through their air tanks,” Caven said. Runner vehicles volleyed between the fire and the station to bring fresh air tanks.
All the townhouse units had fire damage to their roofs, but the flames didn’t get down to the main floors or to the trees behind the row, thanks to the full force of Langford Fire Rescue, which was supported by the Colwood and View Royal departments and two chief officers from Esquimalt. West Shore RCMP were also on hand helping to control the scene.
All the townhouses in the Gardner Creek Phase three had been sold. A construction worker on site said after the fire investigation is completed, a structural engineer will need to assess the damage to determine next steps.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.