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Fire causes late-night evacuation of high-rise apartment building in downtown Nanaimo

Fire in storage area sends smoke through several storeys of Chapel Street building
Tenants were evacuated from a downtown Nanaimo apartment building after fire broke out in a storage area late Sunday, March 19. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

A late-night fire in a storage room forced the evacuation of a high-rise apartment building in downtown Nanaimo.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue responded with four engines and 16 firefighters to the scene at Seacrest Apartments, on the corner of Front and Chapel streets, at about 11:45 p.m. Sunday, March 19, for a fire that was burning in a storage area of the building.

Stuart Kenning, Nanaimo Fire Rescue assistant chief of operations, said the fire was knocked down quickly, but smoke had been sucked up by a nearby HVAC unit that provides air throughout the structure’s corridors.

“There were vents right near where the fire was so there was smoke in eight floors of the building, so the residents of those floors were evacuated for 50 minutes while the smoke was cleared,” Kenning said.

He did not know how many residents were evacuated, but said all were allowed back in their apartments afterward. There were no reports of injuries or smoke inhalation.

“The storage area contained building materials, flooring and things like that,” the assistant chief said.

It has not been determined whether the cause of the fire was suspicious, but RCMP was contacted.

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(Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

Chris Bush

About the Author: Chris Bush

As a photographer/reporter with the Nanaimo News Bulletin since 1998.
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