Structure fires a growing worry for Sooke Fire Department

Sooke firefighters fought approximately one major fire a week in February and March

A significant increase in the number of structure fires in Sooke in the first three months of the year has a fire department official raising the alarm.

Sooke firefighters fought approximately one major fire a week in February and March, according to a report from Fire Chief Steven Sorensen to District of Council.

The fire department was called out to one structure fire in January, three in February and five in March. Total calls answered for all incidents, including medical emergencies, was 220, just slightly above the 215 answered in the same period in 2015.

“Of particular concern is that some of these fires have been deliberately set,” Sorensen said.

No serious injuries were reported as a result of the structure fires, but in two incidents family dogs died.

“It appears that in some of the fires, it was quite some time before they were noticed and reported, allowing the fires to grow dramatically in size, making control of these infernos a difficult challenge for [firefighters],” Sorensen said.

Fire losses for the year are nearing the $1 million mark.

The Sooke fire department continues to struggle with personnel with 24 active volunteer firefighters and five career firefighters. In 2001, the fire department had a force of 40 volunteer firefighters.

The Sooke Fire Commission is working on a long term plan for the fire department, which also includes an audit.