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Nanaimo cools down from Thanksgiving weekend fires

More than a dozen fires kept Nanaimo firefighters and investigators on the run over Thanksgiving weekend.

A kitchen fire at Moxie’s Grill and Bar in north Nanaimo that ignited shortly before 11:30 p.m. Monday has shut down the restaurant for a few days.

Heat from the fire triggered the building’s sprinkler system, which snuffed out the flames, but flooded the kitchen.

Rick Kwasnecha, fire prevention officer investigating that fire, said water, about 15-20 centimetres deep flowed out the back door of the restaurant when firefighters arrived.

“There was quite a bit of smoke damage to the kitchen area, but the sprinkler system activated and put the fire out,” Kwasnecha said.

The restaurant had closed and staff had gone home when the fire ignited.

What caused the blaze remains under investigation, but Kwasnecha said as of Tuesday morning he had ruled out causes due to the kitchen’s operation, appliance malfunctions, electrical defects and smoking.

“It’s kind of a head-scratcher,” Kwasnecha said. “It’s so far, undetermined. It could have been a chemical reaction from cleaning products, rags, things like that. It had nothing to do with the kitchen operation itself. It just happened to be in that area.”

Frank Naccarato, restaurant owner, said the drainage system in the kitchen’s floor and quick mop up by a restoration company kept flood damage to a minimum, but the business will be closed until at least Friday (Oct. 12) while crews clean out the restaurant and discard smoke damaged items.

Meanwhile, a blaze that destroyed a portion of the back deck of a house inn the 2300 block of Brackenwood Place shortly after 9 p.m. Sunday was caused by a barbecue.

Dave Leigh, fire prevention officer, said a charcoal briquette barbecue triggered the fire when one leg of the unit failed and it toppled over onto the wooden deck.

“It looks like one of the legs let go or burnt off – I can’t tell – but it tipped over on the deck and ignited the deck,” he said. “It was a fairly new barbecue.”

Firefighters managed to keep the flames from damaging the house and no one was injured.

And five people are in temporary lodging after a fire in the basement storage area caused smoke damage throughout their home on the 5200 block of Lost Lake Road Saturday.

The fire, which broke out in a crawlspace shortly after 9 p.m., was confined to the area, said Ennis Mond, Nanaimo Fire Rescue fire prevention officer.

“But there was heavy smoke throughout the whole house,” he said.

Occupants included four members of the family that owns the house and one tenant.

No one was injured and the home is insured.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Other calls for service over the long weekend included a vehicle fire on Stewart Avenue, three bark mulch fires, one fire in a planter, a garbage can fire, one campfire, a resident illegally burning yard waste, two calls to investigate  smoke near Harewood Mines Road and Maughan Road, one call for a broken natural gas line, nine motor vehicle accidents and 54 medical aid calls.

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