Farmhouse fire deemed suspicious

Fire officials are treating a blaze that destroyed an old farmhouse off Westwood Road last week as suspicious.

Rick Kwasnecha, fire investigator with Nanaimo Fire Rescue, said Friday's early morning fire has been turned over to the RCMP for further investigation.

"The building was vacant and it was insecure," he said. "Our preliminary investigation results show that we have a possible human-caused fire."

Kwasnecha said he could not go into detail about what was found because the investigation is ongoing.

Investigators determined that the blaze started in one of the ground floor rooms of the two-storey house, but were unable to determine exactly what caused the fire because the damage was so severe.

"The whole house had no drywall," said Kwasnecha. "Fires spread rapidly through that kind of construction."

He said tenants vacated the house about a month ago and the owner also owns the city block of land around the house, which is the subject of a development permit application.

Kwasnecha expects to wrap up his portion of the investigation over the next couple of weeks.

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