Black Creek blaze destroys barn, kills animals

Firefighters prevented flames from spreading to nearby trees and structures – fire chief

A fire in Black Creek consumed a barn and killed its animal occupants early on Wednesday morning, according to Bruce Green, chief of Oyster River Fire Rescue.

Firefighters responded to the blaze on Surgenor Rd. at around 2:30 a.m., Green said. The flames were already high by the time they arrived.

“When we showed up, the whole barn was fully engulfed and it was starting to spread to the trees,” he said.

Green said the crew immediately focused their attention on containing the blaze.

“Our initial priority wasn’t putting the fire out, it was stopping the spread to the trees and the structures that were close by,” he said. “We contained the loss to the barn.”

Roughly 18 firefighters from Oyster River responded to the scene, he said, followed by members of the Courtenay Fire Department, who responded to a call for mutual aid.

The barn’s tin roof collapsed, creating a barrier for firefighters, said Green. Photos shot by Green show a wooden structure reduced to cinders.

“It is a writeoff,” he said.

The fire killed 15 or more goats and a number of chickens that were trapped inside.

“Unfortunately all the animals that were in the structure succumbed to the fire,” he said. “None of the animals made it out of the building.”

By late morning on Wednesday, piles of hay were still smouldering, he said. Green was at the site of the fire with a crew, dealing with the debris.

“It’s just five of us here, working with an excavator to slowly go through the hay piles and just put them out,” said Green.

He said the cause of the blaze remains unknown.

“We’re investigating right now to try and determine the cause,” he said. “It could be some time before that happens.”

In total, about 25 firefighters worked on the blaze, said Green. Paramedics also attended the scene to provide rehabilitation services to the fire crews.

Green thanked the Courtenay Fire Department and the BC Ambulance Service for their help.

Oyster River Fire Rescue is led by a full-time career chief and deputy, along with a team of paid on-call volunteer firefighters.

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