A barn on the 2400 block of Coleman Road north of Courtenay was destroyed by fire late Sunday night, but firefighters were able to stop it from spreading to a nearby home and field.
Shortly before 11 p.m., Courtenay Fire Department received a report of a fully-involved barn.
“Fortunately, everyone was out by the time we arrived. We do have some animals that are unaccounted for,” deputy fire chief Kurt Macdonald told CTV Vancouver Island.
He added he believed they were family pets, but there were no livestock in the barn.
“It was a defensive attack from the beginning. We are in an area that doesn’t have any fire hydrants so we’re relying on tanker shuttles and mutual aid from Oyster River (Fire Department) to help us extinguish this fire.”
Macdonald noted the biggest challenges in the fire were the contents of the barn – hay, farm equipment and a boat – in addition to not having any hydrants in the area.
“When I came here, I saw a pretty good fireball shooting out of the west side of the structure and pretty much flames from one side to the other.”
Initially the department was concerned about outbuildings, but they were able to keep the fire contained to just the one structure.
Witness David Malinski happened to be driving on Coleman Road on his way back home to Campbell River when he initially spotted the fire and called 911.
He thought at first it was a large bonfire, but upon closer inspection, saw flames in the barn.
“The fire looked awfully close to another building – the main house,” he said.
“As I came around the far side of the building, I could see the property owner concerned about her animals – apparently there were some inside the barn. Dogs, and maybe a cat or two.”
He believes the barn was completely destroyed.
“There’s some significant property damage and loss of property, but no human lives lost. The horse turned out to be in a field nearby; the large animals were safe.”