This camper van caught fire Sunday afternoon while being filled with propane at the Super Save Gas station on the Island Highway just outside Qualicum Beach. Our thanks to reader Nory Johrden for providing us with this photo.

Fire at gas station near Qualicum Beach could have been a lot worse

Quick response by employee and firefighters was key to avoiding a major disaster, says fire chief

Fast action by an employee and the quick response of firefighters likely averted a major disaster when a van caught fire Sunday while being filled with propane at a gas station near Qualicum Beach, said Dashwood Volunteer Fire Department chief Nick Acciavetti.

A camper van was being filled and the driver was standing by watching the Super Save Gas attendant at 12:45 p.m. Sunday when “something ignited” the propane, said Acciavetti.

“I guess he was loosening off the propane nozzle and there was a spark and then fireball,” said the chief.

“He (the attendant) was smart enough to shut down all the power and the pumps and call the fire department.”

The woman who was driving the van suffered burns. There were no other injuries, said Acciavetti.

A Dashwood fire truck and crew were on the scene inside 10 minutes and got two hoses on the fire and area.

“That really minimized the risk,” Acciavetti said of the quick action of firefighters. “Big kudos to those guys. The potential there …”

The gas station on the Island Highway at Laburnum Drive is just outside — by about 50 metres — the actual boundary of Qualicum Beach. There was a total of 30 firefighters at the scene from Dashwood, Qualicum Beach and Coombs departments, four engines, three support vehicles and a rescue truck.

Acciavetti said the damage was limited to the van and the propane pump. The main propane tank is less than 15 metres away from the fire. The gas pumps are about the same distance away.

“They were close enough to be at risk,” said Acciavetti. “Luckily we were there quick enough.”

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