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Major house fire claims garage and suite at Chemainus residence

Four North Cowichan fire halls called to the scene
Carolyn Dykeman, who lives on Fuller Lake Road near the fire site, captured this photo from her balcony. (Photo by Carolyn Dykeman)

Flames shot up from a residence on Cottonwood Road in Chemainus Thursday afternoon followed by heavy smoke.

“The house was occupied at the time,” said Martin Drakeley, North Cowichan fire chief. “There were no injuries and all occupants made it out safely.”

Members of four North Cowichan Fire Department halls – Chemainus, Crofton, Maple Bay and South End – battled the blaze that broke out in a detached portion of the main residence.

“They managed to confine the fire to the garage and suite,” said Drakeley. “There was a firewall there.”

After firefighters brought the flames under control, they had to deal with large plumes of smoke and were expected to remain on the scene for a considerable time before putting it out.

Conditions were damp and drizzling at the time, helping in the firefighting effort.

The call went out at 2:26 p.m. and crews were on scene quickly, but there’s little they could do to save any of the garage and suite.

Dennis DeFrane lives adjacent to the property where the fire happened on Fuller Lake Road.

“When I got here, it was just solid flames,” he said at the scene. “By the time the fire department got here, it was toast.”

DeFrane’s daughter Carolyn Dykeman said she heard glass shattering.

“My mom said there’s smoke outside and we could see the flames.”

The fire is currently under investigation and no details are available on the cause.

BC Hydro was on site to work on restoring power that was cut while the firefight was at its peak.

The homeowners are apparently new to the area since the summer and had been doing some renovations on the property.

“The fire safety message is to ensure smoke detectors are up to date – within 10 years old – and have new batteries,” Drakeley indicated. “Also an extinguisher for kitchen and garage areas is always advisable.”


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Burned out remnants of a garage and suite next to a residence on Cottonwood Road. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Firefighters deal with heavy smoke. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Not much remains of a section of a home on Cottonwood Road. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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