Wiring overheats during downtown power outage

NANAIMO – Firefighters respond to smoke and burning smells in commercial buildings during power outage Thursday.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews responded to two commercial buildings during a power outage in downtown Nanaimo Thursday.

The calls came moments apart shortly after a section of downtown, bordered by Campbell and Pine streets and Esplanade, lost power at 1:08 p.m.

Both calls were for overheated wiring in heating, ventilation and air conditioning units. The first was on the roof of a building at 219 Selby St. and the second was in the Dunsmuir building on the corner of Dunsmuir and Albert streets.

The Dunmuir building was evacuated as firefighters cleared smoke from its interior.

No one was injured in either incident.

“I wouldn’t call them fires, but overheating events,” said Ennis Mond, Nanaimo Fire Rescue investigator.

Mond noted there was a power outage in both cases, which might have contributed to the problem.

Ted Olynyk, B.C. Hydro spokesman, said a crew contracting to B.C. Hydro was working in the area when the power outage occurred, but what caused the wiring to overheat is still being determined.

“The contractor was was doing some work and ran into some problems,” Olynyk said. “As a result one phase of the three-phase line was lost. That may have caused or contributed to the problem.”

Power was restored to the area at 3:25 p.m.