A Nanaimo family was lucky to escape an early morning fire in their home in the wee hours today.
Firefighters from Nanaimo’s four fire stations responded to the fire in a home in the 1800 block of Latimer Road two minutes after midnight Tuesday, July 26.
The homeowner said the family, which included him, his wife and two young adults, had all gone to bed when the fire broke out. He first became aware of the fire when he looked out the window and saw his backyard glowing. At the same time a neighbour was pounding on the door to alert them to the blaze, which appears to have started at the back of the house, and damaged much of the structure’s upper floor.
He credited Nanaimo Fire Rescue for getting on scene rapidly and knocking down the blaze, which was spreading to some shrubs on the edge of the property and could have threatened a neighbour’s house as well.
“The crews, when they arrived, it was heavy fire from the back of the house … There were four people at home at the time. They were all out safely when the crews got there, ” said Geoff Whiting, Nanaimo Fire Rescue assistant chief of operations.
Fire crews were able to knock down the fire quickly before it could spread to neighbouring properties.
“The big worry was preventing it from spreading, because it was hot, dry and windy last night,” Whiting said. “They did manage to knock it down quickly, but the house did suffer pretty extensive fire damage. The upper floor’s mostly damaged and the whole rear of the house, upper and lower. It doesn’t look too bad from the front, but the back received heavy fire damage.”
No one was injured, but the homeowner said he suffered some minor smoke inhalation and was still feeling the effects of that several hours afterward.
The family’s three dogs were also safely evacuated from the house, but their cat was missing for several hours before returnign to the house, unharmed, shortly after 9 a.m.
Nanaimo Fire Rescue investigators are on scene determining what sparked the fire, which possibly started in the kitchen, but no determinations about the cause or origin of the fire have been made.
The homeowner said the family will stay at his mother’s home temporarily and will look for a local longer-term rental that will accept pets.