Fire crews had a portion of Highway 19A in Qualicum Beach blocked off Monday night due to a structure fire. Firefighters had the fire contained within 15 minutes. — Photo submitted by Darryl Kohse

Fire crews had a portion of Highway 19A in Qualicum Beach blocked off Monday night due to a structure fire. Firefighters had the fire contained within 15 minutes. — Photo submitted by Darryl Kohse

Pair of structure fires keep Oceanside firefighters busy

Parksvile blaze now subject of a police investigation

Two structure fires this week kept Oceanside firefighters hopping, one of them sparking a police investigation.

The first fire, Sunday in Parksville, has been deemed suspicious and has now been handed over to the RCMP.

Parksville Volunteer Fire Department responded to a single-storey structure fire on Pioneer Crescent in the early hours of Sunday (Feb. 11). Assistant fire chief Tyrone Heigh said crews arrived on scene shortly after 2 a.m.

Once on scene, Heigh said, crews found two separate fires inside the home which he added was “definitely suspicious.” Heigh noted the house was vacant at the time of the fire.

There was “a fair bit” of smoke and the fire damage was most significant in the kitchen hallway area, Heigh added. He also said fire crews managed to get the fire knocked out pretty quick.

“Due to the suspicious nature of the fire, the investigation has been handed over to the RCMP,” Heigh said.

Meanwhile, a basement suite fire in Qualicum Beach was contained within minutes by personnel from Qualicum Beach Fire Department and four other departments Monday evening,Feb. 12.

Part of a basement suite of a two-storey home on the 3000-block of Highway 19A caught fire Monday night around 7 p.m., said Qualicum Beach fire chief Darryl Kohse.

The QBFD had assistance from the Parksville, Coombs-Hilliers, Errington and Dashwood departments. RCMP, BC Ambulance Service and BC Hydro were also on scene.

No one was home at the time of the fire, Kohse said, and the department was investigating the cause of the fire as of Tuesday morning. Traffic on Highway 19A was re-routed for about an hour while firefighters worked at the scene.

Kohse said a neighbour had called in the fire and the department was at the scene within eight to 10 minutes of the call.

“Then, within 15 minutes, we had the fire under control which started in the suite down below,” Kohse told The NEWS.

“It’s not suspicious,” he said. “It looks like something might have happened in the kitchen; maybe something was left on the stove, but we’re still not quite sure exactly at this time until we talk to the lady that lives there.”

Most of the damage, Kohse said, was contained to the suite’s kitchen.

According to a Facebook post, the departments spent “a good part of an hour overhauling the fire and putting out hotspots.”

Kohse said crews rerouted traffic around Laburnum Road and Crescent Road.

“We had to shut down the highway (19A) for about an hour because we had the fire hose going across the road,” he said.