Extension volunteer firefighters tackle fire that spread into the wooded area around the smouldering remains of a house that burned to the ground on Nanaimo River Road on Thursday. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

UPDATE: House destroyed by fire on Nanaimo River Road

Extension Volunteer Fire Department on scene, no injuries reported

A fire destroyed a house on Nanaimo River Road on Thursday afternoon.

Smoke from the blaze was first noticed sometime around 4 p.m. when Cranberry Volunteer Fire Department was called out to deal what was thought might be a vehicle fire in a gravel pit on the north side of the Nanaimo River, but a call by Ron Gueulette, Cranberry fire chief, to the gravel pit operators revealed there was no fire there, but that it appeared to be farther north near the Nanaimo River and that it was likely a structure on fire.

Cranberry volunteer firefighters already had trucks in the area and eventually found a burning house, located in an isolated spot overlooking the Nanaimo River on a large property in the 600 block of Nanaimo River Road.

Extension Volunteer Fire Department, which serves that area, was called to the scene, as Cranberry firefighters attempted an initial attack on the blaze, but narrow, steep and wooded terrain and downed live power lines hindered efforts to get at the fire.

“They tried to, but the Hydro [connection] came down and it was still hot and it was arcing and stuff all over the access road so they really couldn’t do much until Hydro got there,” Gueulette said.

Extension volunteer firefighters deployed trucks to another road on the property, paralleling a bluff behind the house and ran hose lines through a heavily wooded area to attack the fire, which was spreading into the brush around the structure.

Gueulette, who was in Vancouver at the time but was in direct communication with his firefighters, said he was surprised no one had spotted the fire earlier given the large volume of smoke sent up by the blaze, which had razed the house to the ground by the time fire crews arrived on scene.

“The first report that I got from my captain that it was already on the ground by the time they actually located it,” he said.

The owner of the property was not home at the time and there were no reports of injury resulting from the fire.

Extension Volunteer Fire Department has not reported a possible cause for the fire.

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