No injuries have bee reported after a fire broke out at a homeless encampment along the Patricia Bay Highway.
The Saanich Fire Department was called to the fire near the northbound McKenzie Avenue exit of the highway around 3:45 a.m. Thursday.
When firefighters arrived, one small structure was on fire and flames could be seen shooting 30 to 40 feet into the air.
The fire department says the person who was living in the camp was able to get out after flames start burning and was not injured.
“When you look at the time of the day, four in the morning, you know this resident could have been sleeping in his home,” said Saanich Fire Department assistant cheif Mike Simpson. “I think that we are very fortunate no one was hurt.”
Simpson went on to say that over the past several years, Saanich fire crews have put out a number of smaller fires in the area near the Pat Bay highway. He says firefighters are very aware of the hazards that may be present at homeless encampments.
“There are jerry cans, propane, wires and generators and different things,” said Simpson. “They’re trying to make things the best they can while they’re living up there and so these things do accumulate over time, which makes it so dangerous for us.”
Simpson says Saanich Fire Department investigators are continuing to look for a cause of the early morning blaze.
Though the cause of the fire is still unknown, Saanich police say the fire is not suspicious. Police are working with community agencies to provide resources to the people living in the camp.
In total, 21 firefighters responded to the call.