Nanaimo’s first residential structure fire of the new year sent one man to hospital with smoke inhalation and three other residents to temporary shelter.
The fire happened at about 11 p.m. Thursday in a condominium complex at 4949 Wills Rd. and originated in a bedroom on the third floor of the complex.
Residents had already started evacuating the building when firefighters arrived on the scene and were met with large volumes of smoke billowing from the structure.
Firefighters had to help one tenant and his dog from the condominium where the fire started.
The victim was taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and remained there overnight to be treated for smoke inhalation. The man’s dog is in the care of a neighbour and will be checked by a veterinarian for any injuries suffered from smoke inhalation as well.
“There was water damage to the bedroom – obviously the bed burned – and there was water damage to the two units below,” said Ennis Mond, Nanaimo Fire Rescue fire prevention officer.
Because all three units were rendered uninhabitable, the residents were provided temporary shelter under the Nanaimo Fire Rescue Community Assistance program, said Karen Lindsay, Nanaimo Emergency Program coordinator.
Residents of the first and second story condominiums were insured. It will not be known if the man from the unit in which the fire started has insurance until he can be interviewed by investigators.
Mond said a restoration company was already working on the water damaged condo units early Friday morning.
Investigators are still sifting through the damage to determine the exact cause of the fire. The initial investigation indicates the fire started in the bedroom on the mattress, possibly due to smoking in bed, said Mond.
“We haven’t interviewed (the victim) to find out what he was doing,” Mond said. “He does smoke. It wasn’t electrical. There was nothing else there where the fire started.”
Mond said the building’s residents did the right thing by evacuating the building immediately and credited the building’s sprinkler system with minimizing the fire damage. He is also reminding people not to smoke in bed and to make sure all smoking materials are extinguished before going to sleep.