Four people were taken to hospital and three mobile homes were destroyed in a fire off Craigflower Road on Wednesday morning.
“It was completely out of control upon our arrival, and the amount of people and fire and exposure to homes that firefighters had to deal with was a lot,” said View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst.
Fire crews were called at 5:38 a.m. to the mobile home park at 1201 Craigflower Rd.
There, firefighters found three mobile homes “fully involved top to bottom with fire coming out all sides,” with large propane tanks acting like torches and smaller tanks exploding, Hurst said.
“One [tank] was sitting on the lawn, a 200-pound tank, and it was like a fireball,” he said.
“There’s no stopping it once it starts going.”
West Shore RCMP arrived on the scene at 5:45 a.m., evacuated nearby trailers and residences and shut down Craigflower Road in both directions, said West Shore RCMP spokesman Cpl. Chris Dovell.
Four people who suffering from smoke inhalation were taken to hospital by ambulance.
The heat from the burning mobile homes and the flaming propane tanks caused at least two nearby homes to start to smoke, Hurst said.
Ron Naysmith was delivering Times Colonist newspapers on Admirals Road when he heard “a huge bang,” followed by multiple fire engines and ambulances.
“I heard a loud explosion,” Naysmith said.
Four engine trucks, two ladder trucks, two rescue trucks arrived at the scene. “This was a tricky fire for us this morning and everyone did very well in putting it out,” Hurst said.
Firefighters made sure everyone was away from the fire and worked to protect nearby structures that were vulnerable.
Then, using the biggest fire hoses, View Royal and Colwood firefighters fought the flames from the back. Esquimalt firefighters came in from the side.
When Naysmith was able to get back to the neighbourhood, he saw the destruction. “One mobile home was completely gone and one was blown in half.”
Hurst said three mobile homes were destroyed and two homes on Craigflower Road that were close to the burning mobile homes were saved.
The extent of the injuries of the people taken to hospital is not known. No firefighters were injured, Hurst said.
The fires are not believed to be suspicious, Dovell said.
Emergency services responded to help displaced residents.
Craigflower Road was shut down in both directions between Admirals Road and Tillicum Road until about 7:30 a.m.
The cause of the fire is being investigated.