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Cooking oil fuels destructive fire

Cooking oil overheating on a stove is tabbed as the cause of a blaze that destroyed a residence in Shawnigan Lake's Burnham Park early last Friday morning, Oct. 19.

"It was a double-wide mobile,'' said Keith Shields, who was just elected Shawnigan Lake Fire Department chief on Oct. 10. "You could pretty well write it off.''

The fire call came in at 2:20 a.m.

"When we arrived there, it (flame) was rolling out the windows in the front half of the mobile,'' said Shields.

The department responded with 21 firefighters and sent two engines, a rescue truck and two tenders.

"As soon as we got there we confirmed there was no occupants,'' said Shields.

The residences had departed safely from the mobile and the firemen went to work, taking about an hour to get it under control. It took until 5:30 a.m. to completely mop up the blaze.

"That was a bit of a stubborn one,'' said Shields. "It got up into the attic space.''

With residences so close together and many trees in the vicinity, those factors were also cause for concern.

Shields said the fire came within about 10 feet of the front door of another residence. Other than that, "a couple of the trees got scorched — that was about it,'' he said.

Firefighters drew praise for their handling of a potentially dangerous situation where the fire could easily have spread.

"I commend the fire department tremendously,'' said a neighbour four doors down from the fire. "But it was scary.''

"I was really happy the way the crews put everything together,'' said Shields.

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