A raging fire destroyed or damaged three houses on Khenipsen Road across from the Cowichan Bay townsite Thursday.
The fire, called in just before 4 p.m., consumed a multi-storey vacation home that was under renovation, severely damaged another house and caused smoke damage to a third. The size of the blaze drew 30 firefighters from three jurisdictions, who were expected to be on the scene until 9 p.m., said South End Fire Chief Scott Henning.
Four people were in the houses at the time the blaze broke out. “Everybody is out, everybody is safe,” and were able to leave on their own, Henning said.
The vacation home that was under renovation is a “total loss,” he said.
Henning said the alarm came in just before 4 p.m. and the first of six fire trucks was on the scene within 10 minutes. The close proximity of the structures to each other made the fire spread more readily, he said.
Henning could not hazard a guess at what the cause might have been.
“It was a big fire, that’s for sure,” said Khenipsen Road resident Howard Brounstein, who lives a 10-minute walk from the blaze.
The narrow dead-end street is without a piped-in water supply as homeowners have their own wells.
“They’ve been driving water trucks like mad up the street,” Brounstein said.
The road had to be closed for safety reasons, the fire chief said.