The roof of an upscale Beach Drive home was destroyed in a blaze early Wednesday.
The fire at 57 Beach Dr. began just after 1 a.m., said Oak Bay police Deputy Chief Kent Thom. A friend of the tenants was the only occupant and was looking after the home and dog while the family was out of country. Thom said the man, in his early 20s, put a cigarette out in a planter about 11 p.m. and went to sleep.
“It was the dog who nudged him a few hours later,” Thom said. The man and dog were able to escape the fire, which quickly grew into a large blaze on the upper level of the home.
Neighbour Dorothy Bowen said she was alerted to the blaze by her son, who went to walk their dog.
“It was a huge fire,” Bowen said. “We were afraid for our home.”
Bowen credited quick-acting Oak Bay and Victoria firefighters and police for containing the blaze and likely saving her home. Emergency crews doused her property as a precautionary measure.
No one was injured in the blaze but Thom said one of his officers came close to being engulfed in a huge plume of smoke as he attempted to warn residents near the fire.
“He ducked into a house just in time,” Thom said.
Fire crews and investigators closed a portion of Beach Drive between Victoria Avenue and Denison Road for much of the day.
The official cause of the fire is under investigation. The cost of the damage was still being assessed, but Thom said there was extensive damage to the upper level of the home from the fire and to the lower level from water.