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Man experiencing homelessness burned trying to control tent fire in Nanaimo

Firefighters respond to reports of heavy smoke and explosions at encampment
Firetrucks took up position at the end of Albion Street to douse a fire at an encampment in Nanaimo that left one man injured, Tuesday, March 28. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

One man was treated for burns in Nanaimo following a fire in a camp where people experiencing homelessness are living.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue responded at about 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, March 28, after reports of heavy smoke and the sounds of explosions coming from the camp, located in a wooded area between Wisteria Place and the end of Albion Street.

Firefighters arrived to find one man suffering from burns on his hands.

“A small tea light candle fell onto some nylon,” said Capt. Bryun Ashlie, of Nanaimo Fire Rescue. “He tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher, but it just caught fire and just exploded from there. It just got worse.”

Ashlie said several small propane cylinders exploded from the heat. There were three tents set up in the area, but no one else was injured and firefighters used about 1,100 litres of water, roughly the amount of water carried by a pumper truck, to douse the blaze.

“Basically the tent and its contents in the bush caught fire … Not a big fire, but lots of smoke and very dramatic and the explosions was what got everybody here,” he said. “It didn’t take a lot of water to put out. It’s still fairly wet up there and the ground’s pretty wet.”

The victim was treated at the scene by B.C. Ambulance paramedics and Nanaimo RCMP also attended the incident.

READ ALSO: One found dead after fire at Nanaimo clinic slated for demolition

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Chris Bush

About the Author: Chris Bush

As a photographer/reporter with the Nanaimo News Bulletin since 1998.
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