Fire investigators are piecing together factors that might have caused a fire that heavily damaged a house in Nanaimo’s Western Acres neighbourhood early Wednesday morning.
Nanaimo Fire Rescue responded to the house fire on Palomino Place at about 5:30 a.m. and found the house fully engulfed in flame upon arrival, according to Geoff Whiting, Nanaimo Fire Rescue assistant chief of operations.
“All four stations responded and the house was fully involved when they arrived with flames showing from three sides,” Whiting said.
He said no one was home at the time of the fire. Both a tenant and the homeowner were away and they have both been accounted for.
Damage to the house is extensive and firefighters were still on scene several hours after responding to the alarm and were still extinguishing remaining hot spots.
“The fire was difficult to fight in that there’s some structural damage to the house, so they were only able to enter part of the building. Part of it’s still unsafe to enter,” Whiting said.
Nanaimo Fire Rescue’s fire prevention officers were on scene and had started their investigation into possible causes for the fire. Nanaimo RCMP were also on scene investigating. RCMP have yet to make a statement about their involvement.
Whiting described the damage to the home as severe and said because of the time of day and the distance between homes in the area that the fire likely had time to develop before it was noticed.
There were no reports of injuries and the fire was contained to the one house.
Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said the fire is considered suspicious, but only because its origin hasn’t been determined. Nanaimo Fire Rescue has not turned the investigation over to the RCMP.
“It appears that it started in the lower part of the house where there’s a storage area, but what caused it, they don’t know,” O’Brien said. “We’ll leave that up to the expertise of the fire inspectors and they’ll keep us informed.”
O’Brien said the house will be boarded up and RCMP was keeping watch at the property.