British Columbia

1 man burned in Victoria propane tank explosion and tent fire

Fire crews were called to an encampment on Ellice Street after reports of a propane tank explosion inside one of the tents. In Vancouver, meanwhile, crews put out a garbage fire that started in a half-open parking garage of a closed down motel on Kingsway.

Several tents caught fire at Ellice Street encampment; separate fire in Vancouver damaged shuttered motel

Fire crews extinguish a rubbish pile burning in a parking garage of a shuttered motel on Kingsway, on the same night a group of tents caught fire at a Victoria encampment. Air temperatures on the South Coast fell to around –5 C on Wednesday night. (Ryan Stelting/CBC)

The Victoria Fire Department says a man suffered burns to his hands, arms and head when a group of tents caught on fire overnight into Thursday.

Crews were called to an encampment opposite the Rock Bay Landing supportive housing complex at 535 Ellice St. after  reports of a propane tank explosion inside one of the tents.

When they arrived, the fire had spread to five or six tents, and the pallets under the tents were also burning. The fire was extinguished quickly.

The man was attended to by the B.C. Ambulance Service but there is no update on his condition. 

The fire department says cleaning up the fire took considerable time because of a substantial amount of debris.

Vancouver fire

On the same night in Vancouver, crews put out a rubbish fire that started in the half-open parking garage of the shuttered Deluxe Motel in the 3500-block of Kingsway. No one was injured.

Assistant Chief Trevor Connolly said the fire could have been started by people who are homeless.

"Seems like that is the case, that it's people trying to keep warm," said Connolly. "Crews were able to extinguish it quickly but there's a lot of damage to the base and concrete pillars of the building."

The aftermath of the fire on Kingsway. (Ryan Stelting/CBC)

British Columbia's South Coast is in the grips of a cold snap that saw overnight temperatures dip to –5 C.

An Arctic outflow warning is in effect for Thursday across the region, with freezing winds expected Thursday and Friday.

Environment Canada says wind chill values on the South Coast could dip to between –10 C and –25 C.

With files from Yvette Brend