Blaze ruins Christmas breakfast

Six people escape Christmas morning fire in Nanaimo.

Christmas breakfast turned disastrous for a Nanaimo couple when their house caught fire.

The blaze broke out at 880 Dufferin St. shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday just as the couple and their visitors were sitting down to breakfast, said Ennis Mond, Nanaimo Fire Rescue fire prevention officer.

Mond said the fire started in Christmas wrapping paper, which the family had put behind the house for recycling.

The homeowner, who decided to cook sausages and bacon on a barbecue behind the home, cleaned the barbecue’s preheated grills with a paper towel and cooking oil and then discarded the paper towel in the present wrappings.

“About an hour later a neighbour came running over and said there was smoke coming from the roof,” Mond said, adding the recyclables had caught fire.

Mond said the homeowner did not notice the towel might have been hot enough to start smouldering. He estimated it could have smouldered in the discarded wrapping paper for up to an hour before igniting.

Flames burned into the home’s vinyl siding and up into the roof.

Firefighters contained the blaze to an entertainment room, but heat and smoke caused damage throughout the home.

The owners and their four visitors escaped unharmed.

“They were just sitting down to eat breakfast,” Mond said. “Their food and everything else was still on the table. They all got out and called the fire department.”

The home is insured, but its owners will be displaced until repairs are completed.

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