A home on Hamilton Dr. in Queens Bay was destroyed by fire Wednesday afternoon.
Regional fire chief Terry Swan said when a neighbour phoned it in around 2 p.m., it was feared the tenant was trapped inside because his vehicle was parked in the driveway. However, the house turned out to be vacant.
Swan said when crews from the Balfour-Harrop and North Shore fire departments arrived, the house was fully involved. They had trouble accessing the home, which is on a bench, accessed by a long driveway that was covered in snow and ice.
“The second truck had to stop halfway up the hill and put chains on to make it up to an area where they could access the house,” he said.
Crews were on the scene for about six hours. The three-storey home was a total loss. Not long after crews arrived, the structure collapsed into the basement and became a debris pile.
“That caused difficulty extinguishing it,” Swan said. “The whole house came down into a pile below ground level.”
Additionally, several propane cylinders vented off and ignited. Fortunately there was no risk of the fire spreading to the forest nearby.
The cause is unknown and due to the extent of the damage, Swan said it will be very difficult to determine, unless the tenant has any guesses.
The tenant returned home last evening and was put up by neighbours. Emergency social services will be providing him with clothing and other essentials.
Thirteen firefighters from Balfour-Harrop and seven from the North Shore responded. There were no injuries.
“A combination of factors, access and weather conditions, meant we lost the structure, but there were no injuries, no lives loss and we’ll take that as a positive,” Swan said.