Fire rips through townhouse

A woman had to jump out a second-floor window to escape a fire that burned through her townhouse Monday evening.

A woman had to jump out a second-floor window to escape a fire that burned through her townhouse Monday evening.

The fire affected four units in the Highland Boulevard complex, said Doug Bell, chief fire investigator with Nanaimo Fire Rescue.

The woman was in the bedroom she was renting from the owner of the townhouse – who was not home at the time of the fire – just before 8:30 p.m. when she opened the door to a wall of thick, black smoke, he said.

A man next door helped her to safety once she jumped out the window.

While fire damage was contained to the suite where the blaze originated, B.C. Hydro had to shut off power temporarily to the three surrounding townhouses as well due to damaged hydro wires.

The owners of the townhouse to the right, who are away on vacation, have water and smoke damage to their unit, said Bell, and the unit to the left has a bit of smoke smell in it.

The fire-damaged apartment is still structurally sound, but the two people living in it have lost everything because they had no content insurance, he added.

The strata’s insurance will cover repairs to the building.

“It was a very, very hot fire and the damage was pretty well complete when our crews got there,” said Bell.

The city’s emergency social services department was helping people in two of the units, as none of them had content insurance, but Bell said once the people on vacation return, they may also need assistance if they have no insurance.

Fire investigators Ennis Mond and Rick Kwasnecha were at the townhouse most of the day Tuesday sorting through the rubble.

Mond said cause of the blaze is still under investigation, but it is not a suspicious fire.

Investigators believe the fire started downstairs in the living room, but need to talk to the woman, who was still in hospital Wednesday with undisclosed injuries from the jump from her window, before releasing further details about cause of the fire.

“I need to confirm with the girl what she saw and did prior to the fire,” said Mond.

The townhouse complex is almost right across the street from Fire Station 2 and investigators are also trying to figure out either why the fire was called in so late or what happened to speed up the progress of the fire before crews got there, he added.

“When the fire crews got there, that unit was fully involved,” said Mond.

Just Posted

The Nanaimo Business Awards are accepting nominations now. (Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce image)
Nanaimo Business Awards accepting nominations of worthy winners

This year’s awards aren’t until the fall, but the nomination period ends June 28

Retailers say they’re ready for the ban on single-use plastic checkout bags in Nanaimo when it takes effect July 1. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Retailers report they’re ready for Nanaimo’s single-use checkout bag ban

Business operators say there’s been plenty of time to plan and prepare for bylaw that kicks in July 1

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

Gabriola singer-songwriter Sarah Osborne, Cowichan Valley duo Heartwood, Vancouver singer Kelly Haigh and Nanaimo bluesman David Gogo (clockwise from top-left) are among the performers in this year’s Cultivate Festival. (Photos submitted)
Gabriola Arts Council presents COVID-conscious Cultivate Festival

Theatre, music and art festival returns to Gabriola Island after 2020 hiatus

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

John A. Read, who was inspired to leave his former career to become a professional astronomer by the purchase of a $13 telescope, will give beginning astronomers key pointers on how to set up and get the best performance from their instruments at Nanaimo Astronomy Society’s meeting June 24. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Read)
Astrophysicist will talk about getting the most out of a telescope at Nanaimo astronomy meeting

John Read’s purchase of a $13 telescope led to a degree in astrophysics and a career in astronomy

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Most Read