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Fire in Parksville contained because of quick action by firefighters and neighbours

Parksville firefighters battle a blaze that damaged a detached garage, shop and woodshed behind a home on Panorama Place Wednesday afternoon. - Photo submitted by Parksville Volunteer Fire Department
Parksville firefighters battle a blaze that damaged a detached garage, shop and woodshed behind a home on Panorama Place Wednesday afternoon.
— image credit: Photo submitted by Parksville Volunteer Fire Department

A Parksville man's lunch was rudely interrupted when a fire broke out in the detached garage/shop structure behind his home Wednesday afternoon.

A quick response by the Parksville Volunteer Fire Department prevented the blaze from spreading to the home at 511 Panorama Place, though the shop, garage and a woodshed on the property, and a detached suite on the property next door, all suffered damage.

"I was inside eating my lunch and saw a shadow on the wall (from the smoke)," said Doug Sutherland, the 91-year-old owner of the home. "I called it in; I couldn't think of anything else but 911."

Fire dispatch said several calls came in for the blaze, which sent clouds of dark smoke into a clear, blue sky and drew onlookers from around the neighbourhood.

"I saw black smoke and said, 'That's trouble,'" said Dennis Cassidy, who said he spent more than 20 years as a firefighter in Northern Ontario. Cassidy was cycling home after playing at the Parksville Curling Club and changed course when he spotted the smoke.

"I was going to call, but I didn't know where (the fire) was," he said. "I came over here on my bike as fast as I could."

The fire brought a response from 16 members of the fire department, who quickly doused the flames and contained the damage to the outbuildings. Also on site were Oceanside RCMP, B.C. Ambulance and BC Hydro personnel.

No injuries were reported. Paramedics briefly checked on Sutherland, who said he was fine.

As soon as the fire was discovered, Sutherland said, the first order of business was moving a large RV from the driveway that firefighters used to access the shop at the rear of the property. A small car was also spared smoke or water damage, thanks to quick-acting neighbours.

"We got the car out of the garage," said Sutherland. "Friends pulled the little Opel out, and we moved the RV."

Parksville Fire Department officials have not yet announced the cause of the fire.

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