Thick black smoke could be seen for miles in Gibsons late Thursday afternoon (Aug. 30) as Gibsons firefighters responded to a blaze at the Poplars Mobile Home Park just off Highway 101 in Elphinstone.
The blaze, which gutted a mobile home, broke out just after 4 p.m. Firefighters were on scene within minutes, and when they arrived flames and smoke were shooting out of the structure and up into the nearby trees as a crowd of neighbours looked on from the street.
“We had 14 firefighters on scene and help from off-duty Roberts Creek firefighters, which was really appreciated,” said incident commander Jon Cargo.
“It took us about an hour to knock it down and stop it from spreading to any of the adjacent mobile homes.”
Cargo said as that fire call was coming in another fire — also a reported structure fire — was received from The Bluffs area in Gibsons.
“So we sent resources to that fire, and it turns out it was a [small kitchen fire] and was very minor, so we then rerouted the resources,” he said. “That was certainly one of my concerns — the lack of resources. Having two calls like that at the same time stretches us big time.”
Cargo said he was also concerned that people were inside the trailer when firefighters arrived.
“Right away we knew the trailer was going to be destroyed. There was just too much smoke and flames shooting out the windows,” he said. “Once we found out that the trailer was empty, our goal was to attack it and make sure we were protecting the surrounding area.”
Teddy Presley, who lives directly across from the now destroyed trailer, said he was just laying down for a nap when he heard the sirens and all the commotion.
“I looked out my window and, wow, just saw the flames and a large cloud of black smoke,” he said. “It was pretty big.
According to Presley, four men were living in the trailer; they had just recently moved in. He said they were living there part-time while they worked in the forest industry.
“Didn’t really see them much, but when I did they seemed like nice guys,” Presley said.
Cargo said despite the large crowd of onlookers and neighbours, everyone was respectful and allowed the firefighters to do their jobs.
“We hit it as hard as we could and as quickly as we could,” Cargo said. “The four occupants were all accounted for, so that’s a good feeling. We didn’t lose anyone else’s property, so it’s a win for us.”
After a weekend investigation, the department has determined the cause to be unattended cooking with a pot left on the stove.