Another trailer fire at the Maple Pool Campground and RV Park has some residents of the small community feeling a sense of déjà vu.
A small pop-up camper on the southeast corner of the campground caught fire shortly before 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 28. Courtenay fire crews attended to the blaze, which was extinguished quickly.
While no one was injured, Saturday marked the third trailer to burn down at the Maple Pool campground in less than a year.
On May 25, 2017, a trailer fire broke out at the campsite just before 9 a.m. Maple Pool residents hailed a resident named Ron as a hero in the incident after he punched out a window and dragged the sleeping occupant from the trailer.
Six weeks later, a man was sent to hospital with second- to third-degree burns after another Maple Pool trailer caught flame on July 6.
Some residents want more protective measures to guard against fires, considering trailers’ flammable nature and the prevalence of propane tanks and trees in the campground.
Kim Hamilton, who has lived at Maple Pool for seven years, said she’d like to see everybody be more proactive when it comes to defending the campground against potential fires.
“Everyone should have fire extinguishers, everyone should have garden hoses,” she said. “With the trailers, you never know who’s got propane or not. I stay away as far as I can because I’ve seen those bottles blow before.”
Hamilton also said she’d like to see the fire department follow up on incidents in Maple Pool to ensure regulations are being followed.
“The fire department has enough to deal with, I understand that,” she said. “But they come here heavy-handed and order people to move things out of their yard, [make sure] there’s 15 feet of clearance, remove tarps, but then they don’t follow up on it. And they need to follow up on it.”
Conrad Lecompte lives across from the trailer that caught fire on Saturday. He said he’d like to see more preventative measures at Maple Pool such as more security cameras, as well as more safety measures, so the community can deal with a fire before it spreads.
“Just preventative measures, whether that be a fire suppression system with hoses…or a water truck of some sort,” said Lecompte, who has lived in Maple Pool on and off for about 10 years.
“Sometimes we have other trailers or we have trees nearby. If we’re able to respond within five or 10 minutes of an incident, those preventative measures could make the difference.”
Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex said it would be up to property owners to decide whether or not to purchase a water truck, as it is not something required by the fire code.
“If you want to exceed what the code requires, you’re perfectly capable of doing that,” he said, adding that regulations call for the Maple Pool trailers to be situated at least 10 feet from each other.
However, Bardonnex discouraged the idea of a water truck, saying the department does not want to see residents taking firefighting into their own hands.
He mentioned how the crew that responded to Saturday’s fire were at the scene only four and a half minutes after dispatch.
“First of all, we don’t want people fighting fires – that’s how they get hurt,” he said. “When we arrive on the scene, our guys are protected by Nomex firefighting gear, they’re wearing breathing apparatuses to protect their lungs, they have gloves, visors, and we’ve got backups with multiple lines to deal with it.
“Someone just taking a truck with water on it and grabbing a hose is not what we’re recommending to anybody.”
According to deputy fire chief Kurt MacDonald, as of Monday afternoon, the Courtenay Fire Department is still investigating the cause of Saturday’s fire.