An early morning fire at an apartment building in Nanaimo’s hospital district was caught early or it could have been much worse.
The fire broke out about 2 a.m. Wednesday in a smoking area on a second-floor exterior walkway of a three-storey apartment building in the 1300 block of Graham Crescent.
Rick Kwasnecha, Nanaimo Fire Rescue fire and loss prevention officer, said a discarded cigarette sparked a blaze that ignited furniture on the walkway and worked its way into the exterior wall and soffits of the building, causing significant damage to the building’s exterior wall and smoke damage to three apartments.
Kwasnecha said only one suite in the area of the fire was occupied, but the fire blocked the exit for the two tenants of the occupied suite.
“They were fortunate there was an extinguisher there and they hit it with the extinguisher, which allowed them to get through and out,” Kwasnecha said.
The building exterior had also been renovated with non-combustible siding, which helped limit fire damage.
Residents of the building were temporarily evacuated, but no tenants were displaced by the fire.
Kwasnecha listed the blaze as accidental.