Tahsis United Church Burns To The Ground

Special Report
Vancouver Island, British Columbia May 24, 2015
Web Issue
Tahsis United Church Burns To The Ground
Lori Bennett
Tahsis, May 23 - My friend Carol and I
were preparing to go to the Ladies
Retreat in Esperanza on Friday, May
22, when we noticed smoke coming
out of the roof of the Tahsis United
Church just below my home.
I immediately called 911, then drove
down the hill to ensure that no-one
was in the building. I screamed and
called out but saw no vehicles near
the church and heard no response.
Then I drove back up Cardiac Climb
to inform Sheila Orr (the deceased
Minister's wife) that the church was
on fire, but not to panic as it seemed
there was just a bit of smoke and that
the Fire Department was on the way.
They arrived shortly thereafter and
began hosing down the metal roof.
It seems the roof at the back was
being repaired with torch on roofing.
The church had cedar shakes
originally and the metal roofing was
installed directly over the shakes.
The fire simply smoldered under the
metal and then turned into an inferno.
So many people turned up to help
where they could... we had garden
hoses wetting down the houses just
above the church, the fire did jump
the road and began burning up the
embankment towards the houses on
Cardiac Climb. All hell could have
broken loose if the fantastic
Volunteer Fire department had not
been so vigilant in moving the hoses
to douse those flames. The fire came
within 50 feet of my home.
The community really banded
together and fought the fire for over
12 hours. We are all heartbroken
that the iconic landmark and the place
of so many memories now lies in
ruins. It is particularly hard for
Sheila Orr who has been putting on
Monday morning breakfasts for
many years now to save the building.
Just last week one of the major beams
was repaired and the roof was being
worked on.
It will never be replaced. A sad day
in the history of Tahsis.
May 24, 2015