A fire in a basement bedroom could have been much worse if residents hadn’t caught it early, according to a Nanaimo Fire Rescue fire prevention officer.
Firefighters responded to a house at 680 Nicol St. shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday after fire broke out in a bedroom and caused heavy smoke and fire damage to the room and contents.
Alan Millbank, who investigated the fire, said it was started by a lit candle that was left unattended.
“I guess [the resident] had a lit candle in his room and he went up to cook something and he left the candle unattended,” Millbank said. “The candle caught fire and he noticed fire coming through the vents in the floor in the living room.”
The occupants were able to knock the fire down with a fire extinguisher before fire crews arrived, leaving firefighters the task of checking whether the fire had worked its way into walls and ensuring the blaze was completely extinguished.
Millbank said there was a working smoke alarm in the kitchen, but not in the basement, which could have given earlier warning of the problem.
The house remained inhabitable, the residents were insured and no one was injured, but Millbank said it’s important to have working smoke alarms on every level of a house and anything with an open flame in a home has the potential to start a fatal fire and should never be left unattended.
“Unattended open flames are a big hazard and they should never be left alone,” Millbank said. “Fire grows at an exponential rate. A small fire caused by a candle can fully involve a room in less than two minutes.”