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Heater to blame for garage fire

Fire officials say a Nanaimo man is lucky his house was not damaged following a blaze in his carport Sunday afternoon.

Rick Kwasnecha, fire investigator with Nanaimo Fire Rescue, said the man, who lives on Starlight Trail, was using a kerosene heater to warm the carport so he would be comfortable while working on restoring a 1979 Ford Mustang.

The heater ignited fluid leaking from the car around 2 p.m.

Kwasnecha said the man was out shopping at the time, but a neighbour and another person passing by noticed the smoke, grabbed a garden hose and a fire extinguisher, and put the blaze out before it could spread.

Damage was confined to parts of the Mustang's engine and some plastic bits that were also part of the car, as well as some smoke damage to the carport ceiling. But the minimal damage is thanks to the early detection, he added, as car fires can get extremely volatile.

"It could have been a lot worse," said Kwasnecha. "Now he's got even more work to do on the car."

He said the blaze should serve as a reminder to people not to leave heaters unattended and to choose the type of heater wisely – a heater with a flame is not a good choice in an enclosed area around combustible materials.

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