Two homes were destroyed, and five more damaged after an early morning fire in Gold River on Saturday.
“Two mobile homes are completely demolished, one more will probably be demolished, by the looks of it,” said Gold River mayor Brad Unger. “There’s about four other ones with a lot of heat and smoke damage.”
Gold River fire crews responded to a call for a structure fire at around 2:30 on Saturday morning. When they arrived on scene, local residents were already knocking on doors and using garden hoses to keep the flames at bay. After starting their initial attack, a call for support went out to the Campbell River fire department.
“We were very fortunate. I was looking at the site this morning and talking to some of the people involved. We were lucky there was no wind,” Unger said. “There is about ten or twelve homes in the little cul-de-sac there, and it easily could have been all of them. It was very fortunate that our crew here knocked it down as much as they could right away. With the support of Campbell River they had it out within a couple of hours.”
There were no injuries to humans, but one dog was unable to escape the fire. Emergency Support Services (ESS) was on scene quickly and helped relocate people to a local hotel. However, Unger said that housing in the community is hard to come by and those affected could have difficulty finding something permanent.
“This is going to affect (housing) big time. Of course with the two demolished right away… one of the fellas happens to have a house in Campbell River, but he works out here. At least he may have something,” he said. “The other couple on the other side, they’re kind of fairly new to town. The other one that is probably going to be demolished belongs to an elderly couple in their early 80s. Luckily their son and daughter-in-law live here, so they’ll probably bunk in their basement for a while.
“I was talking to the elderly couple… imagine starting over again at 82 years old.”
The cause of the fire is not determined as of Saturday afternoon.
The incident affected the entire community, which has a population of 1,246 people. Unger said that ashes were found across town on Saturday.
“It’s a small community. You drive around and look around and there’s a sombre mood today,” he said.
However, small communities do come together in times of crisis.
“There were neighbours knocking on peoples doors to make sure they got out,” Unger said. “Some people also grabbed their garden hoses and tried to help out that way.”