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Foul weather, seasonal spike in fires prompt appeal from Central Saanich fire chief

Central Saanich Fire Department seeing increase in calls on Mondays
Central Saanich Fire Chief Kenn Mount urges the public to pay additional attention over Christmas and December generally in light of various challenges such as weather and other potential causes of fire such as fires related to Christmas cooking and chimney fires. (Photo by Tyler Cave Productions)

A senior firefighter on the Saanich Peninsula is urging residents to be aware of situations that could end with emergency crews responding during the holiday season.

Central Saanich Fire Chief Kenn Mount issued the appeal Monday afternoon with Christmas Eve just days away.

“Enjoy your time with family, but be extra cautious as you are thinking about the safety measures with the pandemic. It’s also time to be thinking just generally about safety as well, as far as parties, driving and weather. And maybe check about that chimney being clean.”

Statistics show calls for some specific fire responses spike in December, Mount explained, a month during which calls for fire service generally increase.

“As families get together, there are issues that happen in the kitchen every now and then,” he said, adding that crews are prepared for a slight increase in kitchen fires. “And then this time of year, there can also be a spike in chimney fires.”

RELATED: Distraction can lead to tragedy with holiday cooking, candles, reminds Greater Victoria fire department

Crews also respond to more incidents involving vehicles in December because of weather conditions and unfortunately, drinking and driving. “We have had some significant wet nights (and) days where we got up in the morning with a little bit snow,” said Mount. “All those things factor in December.”

Mount added crews have also seen a spike in medical calls on Monday mornings.

“We have had one of those days,” he said. “A lot of action on Oldfield Road. There is a vehicle in the ditch, a gas line hit and a structure fire and then another medical call, all on Oldfield Road or just off it, all within the last four hours,” he said. “It was a strange Monday for us.”

RELATED: Monday morning fire contained to chimney in Sidney

While outside of Central Saanich’s jurisdiction, the fire in the 300-block of Walton Place currently under investigation by the Saanich Fire Department speaks to Mount’s points.

Lt. Neil McKenzie of the Saanich Fire Department said the fire in the home started when a log rolled out of a not-properly closed fireplace and set the carpet ablaze. The fire caused minor damage, but could have been much worse, he added.

“The guys were there in time to knock it down.”

Crews took one man estimated to be in his 30s to hospital for smoke inhalation. He had been working outside when the fire started.

RELATED: Sidney firefighters save Christmas presents with quick response

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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