Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a bush fire along the Millstone River on Sunday afternoon. GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

Explosion at homeless camp causes brush fire on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews haul hundreds of metres of hose down ravine

Firefighters had to climb down a ravine to extinguish a brush fire caused by an explosion at a small homeless camp along the Millstone River.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews were called to the 600 block of Rosehill Street at about 2:45 p.m. Sunday. Assistant chief Martin Drakeley said the call came in as an explosion and bush fire.

“When [firefighters] arrived, they found a lot of flame and smoke at the bottom of the gully next to the Millstone River,” he said.

Drakeley said it appeared a man living at a campsite there had caused an explosion.

“It involved fire and some type of explosive gas, propane maybe; we’re not sure at this point,” Drakeley said. “It basically decimated his whole camp.”

A first responder on scene said no one was hurt in the fire.

A witness said the resident of the camp had built some type of structure, but Drakeley said it’s hard to tell.

“It’s so badly damaged down there. Everything’s burned up,” he said.

He said investigators will be at the site Monday, to try to determine the cause and also because the incident could have started a more serious interface fire.

“If that had been in summer time, the bank is right there and fire travels up bank to those old hotels and a lot of the people are infirm in those places…” he said. “Thankfully, it was still a little bit damp and the guys were able to get there quickly and extinguish it.”

The steep bank caused access challenges, but a trail led right to the camp. Crews hauled more than 350 metres of hose in fighting the fire.

Drakeley asked that motorists be reminded not to drive over fire hoses after four vehicles did just that on Sunday. He said at structure fires, in particular, momentarily losing water can be detrimental to firefighters’ health.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Former volleyball star runs to kill cancer

Since 2012, Stephanie Kurz has been pushing herself to the limit as… Continue reading

Mountainaire Avian Wildlife Centre in Merville now open

Mountainaire Avian Wildlife Centre in Merville now open

Strathcona Park Wilderness Centre open for the summer

Winter is receding at Paradise Meadows, and it is time to start… Continue reading

Courtenay Elementary students lobby Town of Comox to clean up ocean plastic

Some Vancouver Island students are not just learning about the problem of… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Update: Two shot, two arrested at Toronto Raptors victory rally

The team and several dignitaries, including Justin Trudeau, remained on stage

Most Read