Insulation ignites barbecue

NANAIMO – Fire department called after resident uses propane barbecue to melt insulation off copper wire.

It’s not unusual for emergency response agencies to regularly call upon one another for assistance, but the reasons for the call can take on a unique flavour from time to time.

Nanaimo Mounties called Nanaimo Fire Rescue for help with a barbecue fire they came upon at a home on the 1900 block of Northfield Road shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday.

The call wasn’t for an overdone late night snack, but to snuff out plastic insulation being burned off of copper wire on the grill of a propane barbecue.

“I haven’t been able to get hold of the tenant who lives in the house, but it looks like he’s a bit of a recycler,” said Ennis Mond, Nanaimo Fire Rescue fire prevention officer. “Last night he, or somebody, took a gas barbecue and filled the cooking area up with scraps of wire to burn the insulation off.”

Mond said the operation was likely carried out in the dark to lessen the chance of black smoke being noticed as it billowed from the grill, which happened to be burning right next to several panels of corrugated plastic sheathing. Fortunately the fire was contained to the barbecue.

“That was about the extent of it,” Mond said. “There was no damage other than the barbecue’s all gummed up with insulation now.”

The wire being salvaged appeared to be scrap cut ends gathered at a construction site and not collected through illegal activity.