Firefighters on scene at a home that burned on Bruce Avenue as their comrades attack the flames from the home’s interior. Fences and other obstacles made accessing the rear of the house difficult for crews who found the house fully involved in flames when they arrived. (CHRIS BUSH/ The News Bulletin)

UPDATE: Burning Christmas tree fuelled Nanaimo house fire

Fire broke out at home in the 600 block of Bruce Avenue at about 2:45 p.m. Monday

A Christmas tree contributed to the destructive force of a fire that gutted the interior of a home and displaced a family of four in Nanaimo’s Harewood neighbourhood on Monday.

Nanaimo firefighters responded to the blaze in the home on the 600 block of Bruce Avenue at about 2:45 p.m. and found the interior of the building fully engulfed in flame when they arrived.

“Right now we don’t know what the cause is because we’re in the process of digging it out, but it had a dry live Christmas tree in there, so we’re just going to try and figure out what was the ignition source,” said Alan Millbank, Nanaimo Fire Rescue fire prevention officer, who was investigating the fire scene Tuesday morning, Jan. 9.

The residents, whom Millbank described as a young couple with two young girls, were not home when the fire broke out.

“Everybody’s safe,” he said.

The owner of the rental home is insured, but the family living there did not have insurance, Millbank said. The family was provided temporary shelter through the city’s Emergency Social Services.

The Christmas tree “definitely added to the fire,” Millbank said.

“With Christmas trees it takes about two minutes to get full involvement. They’ve done a lot of scientific studies on Chirstmas trees and there are videos online that show how they burn up.”

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