Residents of Sharman Mobile Home Park appeared before city council to address their concerns with what they are referring to as the lack of fire safety for people living in private communities.
Brian Snyder, a resident of Sharman Park, says the cause for concern stems from a fire that broke out last year which could have devastated nearby homes and quite possibly the entire community.
“A shed fire was started by a homeless person and almost spread to other homes in the park,” said Snyder. “The fire caused in excess of $40,000 [in damage] but could have been a lot more devasting.”
Snyder claims the reason so much damage was inflicted was because fire hydrants are not regularly tested by the fire department.
“The fire hydrant is 50 metres from the home and was not operational, therefore, crews needed to access a hydrant 500 metres from the home,” he said. “According to the fire incident report, the hydrant ceased to function last year between June 7 and Nov. 14.
“We were told the home would have caught on fire in two minutes and would have had to evacuate the whole park, because these homes are very close together and made from flammable materials.”
He says residents are concerned for their safety when it comes to fires breaking out and claims he has heard contradicting statements from both the private property owner and Nanaimo Fire.
“The private property owner states the hydrant was working,” said Snyder., “Which leads us to question if there was no water supply. There are still a lot of questions we don’t have answers to.”
Snyder said during the council meeting that bylaws are not applied, or enforced, on private property when it comes to resident safety around fires. He is hoping after this incident, council will change that.
“Council has a fire protection bylaw for all Nanaimo citizens and they do not apply it for manufactured home citizens,” he said. “We are treated differently as citizens of this city.”
Snyder says he is confident council will investigate this issue and do their diligence to investigate, but resources need to be allotted to resolve this issue.
“Council seemed to be positive and interested in a resolution, I believe they will do some follow-up,” he said. “The fire chief and I have discussed this, but he believes they don’t have the resources to deal with this issue.”
Nanaimo fire chief, Tim Doyle was questioned by councilor Janice Perrino on who holds responsibility of public safety when it comes to fire hydrants in the park.
Doyle said the ultimate responsibility of ensuring hydrants and making sure they are working is on the owner of the property of mobile home parks.
“It is the responsibility of the park owner to inspect and ensure each hydrant is operational and that they fall into a 60-metre parameter for public safety,” Doyle says.
Sharman Park is owned by Dallas Estates Limited, which is run by a lawyer in Victoria. According to residents of the park, the company has not responded to inquiries from park residents on this issue.