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House blaze in Roberts Creek claims life of family pet, no human injuries

‘The reason why one half of this couple is still with us is that the bedroom door was closed’ - Fire Chief Pat Higgins.
The scene of the house fire in Roberts Creek on Nov. 3, where a family lost their pet dog.

A local family is mourning the loss of a beloved pet in a house fire last weekend. 

Roberts Creek Volunteer Fire Department (RCVFD) responded to a house fire on Orange Road on Friday, Nov 3. The call was received at 5:55 p.m., and RCVFD, Gibsons & District Volunteer Fire Department (GDVFD)  and Sechelt Fire Department attended the scene.

Although no humans were injured, the property owners lost their dog in the fire.

Roberts Creek fire chief Pat Higgins confirmed that the house was lost. “The house initially was figured to be about three quarters, or 75 per cent, involved by fire. So there was there was no saving the house at that level of consumption.”

At that point, the response became an exterior defensive operation, where the fire crews focused on beating down the flames and preventing their spread. 

“There was some concern from a neighbour when they saw the size of the flames and the intensity," said Higgins. “But there was no spread even into surrounding vegetation.” 

Higgins explained that events like this present an opportunity for residents to review their own fire safety. On top of having a working smoke detector in your bedroom, Higgins stressed the need to “close before you doze.” The practice of shutting your bedroom door at night compartmentalizes your house and drastically reduces a fire's ability to spread.  

“You could have a ripping fire outside your bedroom and your bedroom is still livable,” Higgins explained. “The reason why one half of this couple is still with us is that the bedroom door was closed.” 

He added that the residents happened to have an exterior door in the bedroom that led out to a deck, which enabled them to get out of the house. 

Coastal cooperation

Higgins said that this fire was an example of how well fire departments on the Coast work together using both the automatic and mutual aid agreements. 

“It's a pretty efficient operation and you get a whole bunch more firefighters, which is great. And sometimes you get another truck full of water if you're distant from a fire hydrant.”

Higgins said Sunshine Coast firefighters' strong sense of commitment extends past the Coast shores, citing the numerous teams deployed during wildfire season this year.

 “It's another high point for a place like the Sunshine Coast because we all have highly trained firefighters in all the departments and they're very quick to board an apparatus and go to another district when called,” he said. “And of course, the Sunshine Coast was pretty quick to do that for the rest of the province too.”


Jordan Copp is the Coast Reporter’s civic and Indigenous affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.