Squamish fire officials are investigating the cause of a blaze that caused “significant” damage to a home in Garibaldi Highlands last week.
The blaze, which occurred on Friday (June 8) between 4 and 5 p.m., destroyed about 50 per cent of the upper floor of the two-storey home at 1011 Tobermory Way “and a good portion of the roof,” Chief Russ Inouye of the Squamish Fire Rescue Service (SFRS) said on Tuesday (June 12).
While the exact cause is still under investigation, it appears that electrical issues may have been at least part of the problem, Inouye said. Earlier in the afternoon, the homeowner had phoned SFRS officials with concerns about the electrical system in the home.
Inouye and other fire officials visited and investigated the concerns “and found his concerns were valid,” Inouye said. Officials advised the homeowner to shut off the main breaker switch to the house and not to turn it back on until after B.C. Hydro had inspected the exterior connections, he said.
A B.C. Hydro inspector visited and gave the exterior connections a clean bill of health but advised the homeowner to have an electrical contractor inspect the home’s electrical systems, Inouye said.
The contractor “was in process of checking the circuits one circuit at a time,” he said. “He energized one circuit and within a very short period of time a fire started.”
About 20 firefighters from Fire Hall No. 2 responded to the blaze. When they arrived, about half of the upper floor was involved in flames, and the firefighters’ main task was to prevent the fire from spreading to the home next door, Inouye said.
The crew succeeded in that effort partly because of timely action but also because the home next door has a metal roof.
While the vinyl siding was melted off the home involved in the fire, “the building next door was not damaged at all and the metal roof had something to do with that,” Inouye said.
Inouye said he could not yet provide an estimate the cost of repairing the damage to the affected home.