Fire in French Creek could have been worse

'Basically, we were faced with a huge ball of flame,' said assistant fire chief Tyrone Heigh

The charred remains of a garage/workshop which was destroyed in a fire Wednesday night off the Island Highway near the French Creek bridge.

The charred remains of a garage/workshop which was destroyed in a fire Wednesday night off the Island Highway near the French Creek bridge.

A garage/workshop was destroyed in a fire Wednesday night near the French Creek bridge — and things could have been a lot worse.

Firefighters arrived on the scene just after 8 p.m..

“Basically, we were faced with a huge ball of flame,” said Tyrone Heigh, assistant chief with the Parksville Volunteer Fire Department.

More than 25 firefighters from Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Errington attended the blaze. The official address is 1266 West Island Highway, but the structure is not really visible from 19A. There was no estimate provided on the value of the structure and it took about 20 minutes for crews to get the fire under control.

When they reached the “fully involved” structure, what was visible had the potential for big-time trouble, said Heigh. Just outside the door of the garage were seven 20-pound propane tanks.

Heigh said crews immediately, and continuously, hosed the tanks down to avoid an explosion.

One firefighter stepped on a nail, but other than that there were no injuries, said Heigh, who also commented on the cause of the blaze.

“We don’t know what the exact cause was,” said Heigh. “We know where the fire started, but we don’t know what the ignition was.”