Sahtlam volunteer firefighters were assisted by crews from multiple other halls as they battled a blaze on Cowichan Lake Road on Saturday night. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Vancouver Island firefighter loses home to blaze

By the next morning heavy machinery was brought in to demolish what remained

A volunteer firefighter and her husband from the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island have lost everything to a house fire.

On the night of Saturday, June 8 the Sahtlam fire department was called to a fire in the attic of a home on old Cowichan Lake Road.

“When the call came in it was well underway inside where it couldn’t be seen and as soon as our firefighter, who lives there, noticed it and investigated it, she called it in right away,” said Sahtlam fire chief Randy Busch.

Volunteer firefighter and local mail carrier Lona Maas made the call.

Shortly after her fellow firefighters arrived, the decision was made to call for help from the Lake Cowichan and Duncan departments.

Busch explained that given the location of the house and the type of fire they were looking at, they knew they’d need help with water.

“It doesn’t take very long to spread and getting inside an attic type fire is difficult. Part of it was accessing the house,” he added. “It was tough to get in so we had to stage a little bit further back and tried to work around it. We wanted to hit it hard and get water on it as quick as we could, that takes a lot of water, quick.”

Duncan and Lake Cowichan crews worked to shuttle water from hydrants up and down the rural road.

There was another reason for the mutual aid request, too.

“We had to make sure it was all the exposures and that’s another reason for the quick call out,” he explained.

With a lot of other materials and many trees on the property, combined with extremely dry weather, there was a fear of the flames spreading.

The crews worked through the night but by the next morning heavy machinery was brought in to demolish what remained in an effort to douse the hot spots.

“It’s my understanding is that it will be a total loss,” Busch said. “They had to bring in an excavator to open up parts of the house that we couldn’t get at. There’s substantial damage there.”

Busch said it stung to know the home was that of a colleague.

“It was big-time hard,” he said. “Everybody was obviously quite concerned and quite focused on what they were doing to try to do what you can.”

The community has rallied to help the Maases, however. There’s already a GoFundMe campaign aimed at helping the couple get back on their feet. Visit https://www.gofundme.com/al-and-lona-maas-fire-fund to donate.

Donations are also being accepted at the Sahtlam fire hall.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Town of Ladysmith receives $3.3 million grant for Arts & Heritage Hub

The funds will go to creating artist studios around the Machine Shop and maintaining heritage assets

Extension given for Cowichan region homeless tenting sites

Meeting with BC Housing to determine the next step

B.C. Supreme Court dismisses claim against Island Corridor Foundation

Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation was seeking return of reserve land as railway sits unused

What’s in a name? Ladysmith’s historical streets re-examined

Several streets in downtown Ladysmith are named after generals that served in the Boer War

UPDATE: Knuckles has been returned to LCHC display

Knuckles was stolen between 11:00am - 12:00pm on July 1

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

Most Read