Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters extinguish a house fire in the 400 block of Machleary Street on Tuesday night. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Man and dog safe as crews handle house fire in Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter

Firefighters were called to 400 block of Machleary Street at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday

Working smoke alarms may have saved the life of a tenant when a fire broke out in a home in the Old City Quarter late Tuesday night.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue responded to the fire in the 400 block of Machleary Street at about 11:30 p.m.

The house was home to three tenants, but just one of the residents and a dog was at home when the fire broke out in a basement storage room. The tenant got out safely and firefighters helped get the dog out unharmed as well.

Alan Millbank, Nanaimo Fire Rescue fire prevention officer, was on scene Wednesday morning trying to determine how the fire started.

“It doesn’t look like it’s related to smoking, cooking or electrical at this point,” Millbank said.

Millbank said the owner of the house, who lives in Vancouver, has maintained the home well and made sure smoke alarms were up to date and working.

“The dog and a male resident of the house were home at the time and smoke alarms woke him up and got them out,” he said. “That’s what got him to call 911.”

Fire damage was confined to the basement storage room and its contents, but there is smoke damage throughout the house. The tenants will not be able to return to the house because the electrical panel was damaged in the fire.

“They won’t get back in anytime soon because the power and gas were shut off,” Millbank said. “We weren’t sure if it was electrically related, so we had the power shut off and the electric panel has been damaged by the fire so they can’t restore power.”

Millbank said he hadn’t found anything to suggest the fire wasn’t accidental and added that the tenants had found lodging with friends.

The homeowner is insured, but none of the tenants had insurance.

RELATED: Fire Prevention Week’s focus is on smoke alarms and fire escape plans

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Alan Millbank, Nanaimo Fire Rescue fire prevention officer, said a late night fire in a basement storage room of a home on Machleary Street in Nanaimo Tuesday appears to have been accidental, but he had not determined what sparked the fire as of Wednesday morning. He said working smoke alarms alerted a resident to the fire. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

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