Fatal fire started in upholstered chair

NANAIMO – Fire in upholstered chair in living room cause of fatal apartment blaze.

  • Dec. 7, 2014 7:00 a.m.

Fire investigators don’t know what caused an upholstered chair to catch fire, but have concluded it was the piece of burning living room furniture that set off a blaze in an apartment at 361 Albert St. Nov. 29 that killed seven-year-old Dominik Ambrose David Billy.

The results from the ensuing investigation, conducted by Nanaimo Fire Rescue fire investigators, an independent private fire investigator and electrical safety inspectors last week, were released Friday by the B.C. Coroners Office.

“Three was a recliner chair in the living room – in the area of origin of the fire,” said Capt. Ennis Mond, head of Nanaimo Fire Rescue’s Fire and Loss Prevention Division. “We could not find what started the fire. There was nothing in the area of origin that ignited the materials in the area of origin, so that’s what it is.”

One way fire investigators determine where a fire started is by simply looking at the magnitude of burn damage, which is often most intense at the point where a fire started because it is the area that burns the longest and has the greatest amount of time to do the most damage. Unfortunately in the case of the Albert Street fire the upholstered chair, which was located in the living room of the apartment, was so badly burned that any traces of what might have ignited the chair.

“We did find there was a hard-wired smoke alarm, but the breaker had been shut off – not tripped off, shut off,” Mond said.

The breaker panel for the apartment, which the smoke alarm is wired to, is located in one of the apartment’s master bedroom, which is adjacent to the living room. Mond does not know when the alarm’s circuit breaker was switched off or why.

Mond said he attended the scene on the morning of the fire and talked with witnesses, especially to the police officers who were first on scene. Those interviews, combined with physical evidence and findings of electrical safety inspectors and physical evidence, left no doubt, Mond said, that the fire started in the recliner chair in the living room.

“It is what it is,” Mond said. “It’s an unfortunate incident. It’s a tragedy.”

The most recent fire related death in the Nanaimo area prior to the Albert Street fire occurred in Lantzville in February when David William Birnie, 55, died in a garage fire.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue is reminding residents to test smoke alarms to ensure they are functioning at least twice each year.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Islands Trust Conservancy gets funding for protection of at-risk species

Conservancy manages habitat for more than 25 plant and animal species at risk

Nanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre returns to the stage in Port Theatre debut

Theatre group presents ‘2 Across,’ described as a ‘middle-aged romantic comedy’

Purebred breeders go for a walk in Nanaimo to show off their dogs

Purebred dog breeders sometimes get a bad rap, says event organizer

City reviewing plans for huge Sandstone project in south Nanaimo

Seacliff Properties says it’s been told to be ready for a public hearing this fall

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports personnel aboard fishing vessel made the find

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Most Read