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Fire destroys Fairwinds house

A dramatic fire destroyed a house in the Fairwinds development in Nanoose Bay Tuesday evening.

Fire officials believe the fire started on the outside of the two-storey house shortly before 9 p.m., but the damage is so extensive that Doug Penny, Nanoose Bay Volunteer Fire Department chief, is unable to tell for sure where it started or what sparked the blaze.

"It's basically a total loss," he said.

Penny said the owners of the house, an older couple, had been doing some renovations to various parts of the house and at the time of the fire, the roof was stripped of shingles and the wood remaining caused the fire to spread faster.

The roofers arrived Wednesday morning to find their job unnecessary – only one end wall of the house remains standing, he said.

Large chunks of debris were falling on neighbouring properties and firefighters spent a lot of time pouring water on these properties so that the fire would not spread, Penny added.

"If this had happened in August, we would have probably had bush fires and additional houses going up," he said, adding that this might be the first structure fire the department has attended in Fairwinds.

Neighbour Garnet Hunt said the whole house was ablaze when it came to his attention and big chunks of debris were landing on neighbouring properties, including his own, which is about 274 metres away.

The fire engulfed the house so quickly that the occupants didn't even have time to get their shoes on, he added.

"They were very calm," said Hunt. "I suspect they were in shock."

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