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Fast Nanaimo Fire Rescue response stops fire at Caledonia Park from spreading

Firefighters, police respond to blaze at Vancouver Island Raiders’ facility off Wall Street
Nanaimo Fire Rescue responded to a report of a structure fire at the Vancouver Island Raiders’ practice facility at Caledonia Park on Saturday, Aug. 19. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo Fire Rescue fought fast to extinguish a blaze at the Vancouver Island Raiders’ field house on the weekend.

Five fire vehicles responded to a call at the junior football team’s practice facility at Caledonia Park at 11:30 a.m. after someone reported smoke coming from the rear of the building, said Capt. Tom Krall of Nanaimo Fire Rescue.

With a fire hall only blocks away, crews were able to arrive quickly. The fire, which started on an outside wall, like one ignited three months ago, is deemed suspicious, the fire captain said.

“It’s fully extinguished, so it didn’t extend too far in the building,” said Krall. “We did rip apart the back side … and gained access up above there, cut a hole in the floor, checked for extension, but it didn’t damage the building extensively.”

Given the dry conditions, there was potential the fire could have spread fast, much like the situation in B.C.’s Interior region, noted Krall.

“With the topography, with the trees, everything is super dry,” he said. “There’s not a lot of water in the ground, so if this gets going who knows where it will stop, especially because it’s breezy today as well.”

Greg Peacock, Raiders’ spokesperson, said there were no signs of a break-in and no equipment was lost. Despite the fire a few months ago, the team has no intentions of relocating practices. The team is grateful for the efforts of firefighters and the work the City of Nanaimo is doing in the area, he said.

“We have some lights coming in here in the fall, so that we can practise right up until November, and other organizations will have access to it, so there’s no interest in moving whatsoever,” said Peacock. “The city and the police and the community safety officers have done a great job coming down here, keeping an eye on things.”

“It was a good save, I will say,” stated Krall when discussing the damage. “The crews stopped it from becoming more than it was.”

Team officials credit a young girl who had been walking her dog for spotting the fire and calling 911.

RELATED: City adding lights, security measures at Caledonia Park

READ ALSO: With B.C. wildfires, air quality advisory issued for Island

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Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

I joined Black Press in 2010 and cover education, court and RDN. I am a Ma Murray and CCNA award winner.
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