Fire ruins Shawnigan man’s birthday
Shawnigan resident Jim Angus would have been celebrating his birthday Tuesday.
Instead, the owner of a mobile home that erupted in flames Monday was in a state of shock about losing everything inside the house he’d recently renovated.
Neighbour Kirsten Wahl said Angus lost practically everything in his unit at the Shawnigan Mobile Home Park off the south-end of Wallbank Road.
“All he’s got is his vehicle and the clothes off his back,” Wahl said Tuesday.
She’s currently organizing a donation drive and emergency fund account for her neighbour and good friend, who lived in the park home by himself with his Chihuahua puppy.
Angus also has a 10-year-old son, who stays with him occasionally, but wasn’t there Monday. Angus and his dog also weren’t home at the time of the fire. He had left for work with his pup several hours before the Shawnigan Lake Volunteer Fire Department got the call just after 11 a.m.
“I’m just so glad I took my puppy to work and my son wasn’t there when it happened,” a very distraught Angus said on Tuesday.
Details of what his insurance would cover were still fuzzy, he said.
“Everything in the front half sustained damage,” SVFD chief Keith Shields confirmed. The back half of the house also saw smoke and heat damage, as well as some the home’s exterior.
“Our guys got their pretty quick,” Shields said, commending his 13-member strong crew, who spent just shy of two hours at the site.
Neighbour Darl Siddall called the fire in.
“Our main concern was his puppy,” said Siddall at Monday’s scene, noting he figured his neighbour would be at work in Victoria.
After notifying the fire department, Siddall and other neighbours moved Angus’ ‘67 Chevy out of harm’s way, as well as a small trailer, a palm tree, and a couple of small propane tanks.
“All of us neighbours, we jumped on it together,” he said. “There’s not much else you can do but try and salvage as much as you can.”
Kirsten’s husband Chris Wahl was watching TV when he heard loud noises.
“I was kind of half paying attention and thought the noises were maybe from the show, but then my dog started going nuts and that’s when I noticed the fire,” he said.
Shawnigan firefighters on scene appeared to be mopping up and checking for hot spots at 11:30 a.m. Smoke was billowing out the home’s broken front windows.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Shields said it didn’t appear to be suspicious.
The Wahls encouraged anyone willing to make donations to Angus to drop by their unit, #68 or call Kirsten at 250-361-7396.
Kirsten was also in the works of setting up an emergency fund bank account at the Mill Bay Islands Savings on Tuesday.
“We’re coming up with a list of items, but he’s going to need a lot,” she said. “We have a huge covered deck, so even if they don’t’ feel like saying ‘Hi’ people can just drop stuff off at the deck. We will sort it and go through it.”