A Beaver Creek man is homeless after his Ferguson Road house caught fire last Friday (Jan. 29) and burned to the ground.
“We believe it started in the kitchen as a cooking fire,” Beaver Creek Fire Chief Charlie Starratt said.
“He was cooking on the stove, left the kitchen for a few minutes to get a chicken. He came back to see the pot was on fire and he threw water on it.
“It was fully involved upon our arrival.”
Throwing water on a grease fire only spreads the burning grease. “Grease fires should be covered if it’s safe to do so with a lid, or if not safe to do so, you should leave and call the fire department,” Starratt said.
“Water and grease don’t mix. Not at all.”
Crews from Port Alberni and Sproat Lake assisted Beaver Creek firefighters, who had to truck water in from two hydrants on Hills Road at Karen Place and at Beaver Creek Road.
An excavator was called in at 1 a.m. to knock down what was left of the house, as it was unsafe for firefighters, Starratt said. The fire was finally extinguished at 4 a.m., however firefighters were back twice in the next few days as embers underneath the rubble started smoking.
Resident Al Thomsen suffered minor burns in the fire.
Two cats are believed to have perished, Starratt said.
Thomsen did not have insurance and is currently staying with family, according to Starratt.
An account has been set up at the bottle depot in Thomsen’s name for anyone wishing to donate their empties. Pizza Factory, Granny’s Chicken and Boomerangs have also come forward to help.
Rhiannon Lessard also posted on Facebook that she is collecting donations of clothes, food, jackets, shoes, toiletries, etc. Donations can be dropped off at 4770 Elizabeth St. or pickup arranged privately.