Nanaimo firefighters battle two blazes on weekend

NANAIMO – One residence and a business suffer serious damage in two separate fire incidents over weekend.

Firefighters tackled two blazes on the weekend that damaged a downtown office building and a home in the city’s south end.

Emergency crews responded shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday to a commercial building at 321 Wallace St. for a fire on the top floor of the three-storey building.

The fire was knocked down quickly and contained to one business suite, but had extended into the attic space above, where Capt. Ennis Mond, Nanaimo Fire Rescue chief fire prevention officer, said much of the building’s wiring and air conditioning ducting is located.

“There’s a three-and-a-half-foot void space where all the A/C ducting runs, where all the wiring runs, and there’s quite a bit of damage up there,” Mond said.

All occupants had evacuated from a business operating on the first floor and no one was injured.

The investigation into the cause of the fire was underway Monday. The entire building will remain closed until the investigation is finished and it can be determined which businesses can reopen.

The next day, a fire in a home on 32 Gillespie St. gutted its main floor.

Fire crews responded to that fire shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday, arriving to find heavy flames erupting from the front of the house.

“Fire ran through, pretty well, the main floor of the house,” Mond said.

Both of the home’s occupants had evacuated when firefighters arrived, but their dog died in the fire and one occupant had to be treated by ambulance crews for smoke inhalation. The residents, who Mond said had homeowners’ insurance, will be displaced until the house is repaired.

Investigations into both fires are expected to be completed early this week.