Home News by Region Sooke No answers after Sooke structure fire

No answers after Sooke structure fire

Construction site fire in close proximity to other homes, adjacent construction zone, and school.

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Construction site fire was in very close proximity to homes in the Churchill Drive area of Sooke. Aftermath photo taken May 4, 2023. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Friday May 5, 2023 | SOOKE, BC

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

The Wednesday night construction site fire in Sooke was extinguished quickly.

Due to the intense heat of the blaze and how much was destroyed there will never really be a way to determine the cause of the fire, said Sooke Deputy Fire Chief and Emergency Program Manager Wayne Kennedy yesterday. [Update May 11, 2023: Kennedy articulated the cause of the fire will be considered accidental]

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Fire on Steeple Chase construction site was in close proximity to current homes, other homes under construction, and Journey Middle School, as seen two days after the May 2, 2023 fire. [May 4, 2023 / Mary P Boroke / Island Social Trends]

A quick photo shoot of the fire location yesterday shows just how close the fire was to existing residential homes, more housing construction, and Journey Middle School.


The fire was first called in to Sooke Fire Rescue at about 8:55 pm on Tuesday May 2. Mutual aid fire rescue partners were also advised including Otter Point Fire, Metchosin Fire and East Sooke Fire. All four fire services attended the construction site fire scene on Steeple Chase.

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Construction zone rubble after May 2, 2023 fire, [Photo May 4, 2023 | Island Social Trends]

That’s in the Churchill Drive area, now a built up residential area.

Upon arriving at the scene, firefighters found that four structures at the construction site were fully engulfed. The fire was under control by 9:50 pm with crews remaining on site managing hot spots and spot fires.

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During the active fire, people were asked to avoid Churchhill Drive, Noblewood Place and Steeple Chase. Some homes nearby incurred some damage due to the heat and force of the fire such as melted siding and broken windows.

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Heat from the fire melted metals at the construction site during May 2 fire. [Photo: May 4, 2023 | Island Social Trends]

During the fire on Tuesday evening, some people gathered outside on streets not too far away — including Rhodonite Drive — to watch the flames from afar, said one area resident the next day.

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House construction site in active nighttime blaze, May 2, 2023. [WJ Valk]/ Twitter

“Public safety and minimizing damage to the nearby occupied residents was our priority,” Sooke Fire Chief Ted Ruiter said. “Thank you to our dedicated team and mutual aid partners for their quick response, and to the community for their support and cooperation.”

scorched earth, construction, fire, school
Scorched earth after construction site fire near adjacent housing project and school just beyond. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

“The quick action of our emergency response teams prevented something that could have been a truly catastrophic event,” said Sooke Mayor Maja Tait.

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Steeple Chase in the Church Road residential area of Sooke. [Google map]

Approximately 30 firefighters and 10 apparatuses including utility and medic vehicles tended to the scene, as well as Sooke RCMP, BC Ambulance and Fortis BC, said the District of Sooke on May 3. Occupied residents nearby were evacuated temporarily.

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The community also rallied. Neighbours supported each other to ensure one another’s safety, the District said. Any homeowners whose properties experienced damage should contact their insurance providers.

On Thursday May 4 the community was back to normal, but a few people were still stopping by at the fire site — on the trail and in the park that runs adjacent — to take a look at the fire aftermath.

===== RELATED:

Sooke structure fire dealt with quickly (May 3, 2023)

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Mary Brooke, editor, West Shore Voice News
Mary P Brooke, Editor and Publisher, Island Social Trends.

Mary P Brooke is the editor and publisher of Island Social Trends as published daily at islandsocialtrends.ca.

Mary Brooke has been covering politics, business, education and communities through a socioeconomic lens since 2008 on south Vancouver Island (previously with the print editions of West Shore Voice News, and before that both Sooke Voice News and MapleLine Magazine, before launching the fully online news portal Island Social Trends in mid-2020).

Ms Brooke followed and wrote extensively about the COVID pandemic during 2020-2022, and continues to follow the topic as new developments arise. She has covered Sooke School District 62 (SD62) board and committee meetings in-depth since 2014. Mary P Brooke was a trustee candidate in the SD62 Belmont Zone in October 2022. She now reports on provincial news with the BC Legislative Press Gallery.