Encampment fire caused by careless use of smoking material

September 4, 2018

Information bulletin
For immediate release


Saanich, BC – A Saanich Fire Department investigation has determined that the cause of the September 2 fire at the Regina Park encampment was accidental due to the careless use of smoking materials. A lit cigarette was left smoldering on combustible materials inside a tent. 

Saanich Fire Department responded to the incident shortly after noon. The fire had been primarily extinguished by encampment occupants upon arrival, but continued to smolder. Fire officials soaked the area for hot spots and ensured the fire was completely extinguished. 

The fire destroyed the tent and most of the occupant’s belongings. A neighbouring tent had also begun to catch fire. Within the fire debris, fire officials found two lighters, a butane canister and one melted gas container. There were no injuries as a result of the fire. 

On Friday, June 8 and Friday, June 15, Saanich Fire Department issued fire inspection orders to the encampment pursuant to the Fire Services Act. On Friday, June 29 and Tuesday, July 3, further fire orders were issued both in respect of Regina Park as well as the provincially owned adjacent lands bordering the Trans-Canada Highway. Terms of those fire orders include a prohibition against smoking in the park and a requirement to move fuel containers to safe areas. 

On Monday, August 13, an order was issued by Madam Justice Power of the BC Supreme Court, giving the encampment occupants 72 hours to comply with the fire order from the Office of the Fire Commissioner. To date, compliance has not been achieved by the occupants. Furthermore, had the occupant in question followed the requirements of the fire orders, the fire would not have occurred—and his safety and life, and that of others in the park, would not have been endangered in this manner. Saanich Fire Department continues to encourage the occupants of Regina Park to comply with the requirements of the fire orders. 

Saanich Fire Department does not supply fire suppression equipment such as fire extinguishers to members of the public, and also does not fill fire extinguishers. When requested to do so by an organization or resident, Saanich Fire Department provides fire extinguisher training. 

The fire orders are all available to view at saanich.ca/encampment. 


Media contact:

Megan Catalano
Communications Manager
250-475-5494 ext. 3444