College Drive was temporarily closed the morning of Jan. 11 in order to allow for Nanaimo Fire Rescue to battle a structure fire. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

UPDATE: Woodstove ashes started fire at College Drive house

Two people displaced after house fire in Nanaimo on Saturday

UPDATE: Nanaimo Fire Rescue cautions homeowners to store wood stove ashes outdoors and away from combustibles following a house fire Saturday on College Drive.

Capt. Ennis Mond, head of Nanaimo Fire Rescue’s fire and loss prevention division, said storing wood stove ashes outside could have prevented a fire that damaged a house and displaced the homeowners on the weekend.

Mond said the fire started after the homeowner emptied the ashes from a downstairs wood stove. The ashes were put in a metal container that was placed under stairs leading to the upper floor of the house, and were too close to combustible materials that were also under the stairs, which ignited.

“There was pretty good damage to the house,” Mond said. “Water, heat, smoke, fire downstairs and smoke upstairs and the two people are displaced.”

Mond said wood stove ashes should always be disposed of in a metal container, but also placed outdoors away from any combustible materials in case the ashes still contain hot embers.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED: College Drive is anticipated to open to traffic within the hour after fire crews in Nanaimo responded to a structure fire late Saturday morning.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue, B.C. Ambulance Service and Fortis B.C. were all on scene at about 10:45 a.m. Jan. 11 after a report of a structure fire, across the highway from Vancouver Island University. The 1000 block of College Drive, between Camrose Place and Concordia Place, was closed off as firefighters extinguished the fire.

“We just had a small fire inside the home,” said Brad Wood, Nanaimo Fire Rescue assistant fire chief. “Not sure how it started. Our fire investigation branch is on its way up here. A couple of people were inside at the time, they got out. No injuries, fire’s out, under control and they’re just doing a bit of looking to the walls etc. for any extension.”

Wood said Fortis B.C. was notified as a precautionary measure.

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