Members of Nanaimo Fire Rescue tackle a blaze on Rockridge Place in north Nanaimo Monday afternoon.

Members of Nanaimo Fire Rescue tackle a blaze on Rockridge Place in north Nanaimo Monday afternoon.

Fire hits home in Nanaimo

NANAIMO – Home damaged by fire in north Nanaimo's Hammond Bay area.

Fire struck home Monday when a blaze broke out in a house in north Nanaimo.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue was called out shortly after 11 a.m. when neighbours heard a noise and saw smoke coming from home at 308 Rockridge Pl. in Nanaimo’s Hammond Bay area.

Flame was showing and smoke billowing from the back of the house when firefighters arrived.

“Stewart, our oldest son, heard some noise – they were sleeping in because they’re out of school – and all of a sudden they were running out of the house,” said Pamela Morrison, a neighbour living next door. “They called 911. I told the boys to run around and bang on the front door and side door to make sure no one was home.”

The woman who owns the house is currently out of the province. A male tenant who lives in a downstairs suite was at work when the fire broke out and there were no reported injuries.

Morrison said at one point she and her family were worried that the fire next door could involve their home as well, but firefighters arrived quickly and knocked down the flames.

“Thank goodness the boys called because I wouldn’t have even noticed,” Morrison said. “I was doing stuff on the other side of the house.”

It took firefighters the better part of 30 minutes to douse the flames and root out hot spots in the building’s structure.

Ennis Mond, Nanaimo Fire Rescue fire prevention officer, said the fire appears to have started in a garden sprinkler system control unit or the electrical wiring supplying power to it. The unit, located in the back wall of the home where the fire was first spotted by neighbours, had been set to water the garden on even-numbered days while the homeowner was out of town and would have activated for 10 minutes at about 5 a.m. the morning of the fire.

“It was an electrical issue,” Mond said. “The burn patterns indicate it was where the sprinkler control unit used to be.”

Mond said it was impossible to tell whether the fault lay with the control device or the wiring because the fire had completely destroyed both, leaving nothing that could be tested for faults.

The fire then spread into the expanded foam insulation in the interior of the home’s foundation wall and worked its way up into the space between the floor joists between the ground and section floor of the home.

“There is heavy smoke damage throughout the house and structural damage to the living room floor,” Mond said.

The owner is insured, but Mond said the tenant of the downstairs suite was not.