High temperatures and winds contributed to a blaze that destroyed one house, caused heavy damage to two others and displaced 10 people on the weekend. Nanaimo Fire Rescue came up against a home that was fully ablaze and two others burning when they arrived at Southwood Drive shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday.
Alan Millbank, fire prevention officer, credits a tenant at 1057 Southwood Dr. who spotted the fire engulfing his neighbour’s home at 1061 Southwood Dr.
“He banged on doors and finally broke his way in,” Millbank said. “The people inside thought they were being invaded.”
All three occupants escaped out a window.
Millbank was still finalizing his investigation Monday before he’d officially say what caused the fire, but said it was accidental and started on the patio of the home, burned its way up the back wall and into the soffits and attic. Smoke and fire were not close enough to trigger smoke alarms. The fire also ignited the home’s natural gas supply when it burned through the meter connections.
Winds whipped embers onto neighbouring homes, igniting fires that caused the roof to collapse at 1065 Southwood Dr. The rest of the home suffered moderate exterior fire damage and water damage. Three fire hydrants were used to supply enough water to bring the blazes under control.
“It was super windy,” Millbank said. “Hot. It was really dry. Over 30 degrees outside at 2 a.m. They’re lucky they didn’t lose more houses.”
No one was injured. All homeowners were insured, but tenants of two of the homes were not.