A vehicle fire on Garside Road caused damage to a house Saturday. NEWS BULLETIN file

Neighbour’s warning averts more serious fire in Nanaimo

Weekend fires sparked by smouldering meat smoker wood chips and vehicle malfunction

A fire at a home in north Nanaimo on Monday could have been a lot worse had a neighbour not spotted it and alerted homeowners.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue was alerted to the blaze at about 5:15 a.m. Monday, April 16, after a neighbour saw the blaze on the second-storey sundeck of a house on the 5000 block of Jeevans Road.

Kevin Lillingston, Nanaimo Fire Rescue fire prevention officer, said the residents of the home, including a family of three upstairs and two tenants in a downstairs suite, were asleep when the fire broke out after it had smouldered overnight.

Lillingston said the fire originated with wood chips from a meat smoker.

“The fellow [Sunday] emptied a smoker that he had on the back deck on the second-storey patio,” Lillingston said. “He put the wood chips into a metal bucket and put the metal bucket in a planter box.”

The planter box was mostly decorative, with only several centimetres of soil in the top of the planter and a hollow structure underneath.

“It caught over the night. The neighbours noticed it and banged on the door … It burned from the top of the planter box and then dropped in down in the bottom and then burned from the bottom, from the inside out, basically,” he said. “If it had been solid dirt there probably would have been nothing.”

The fire was contained to the deck, siding and soffits of the house, but did not breach the home’s interior.

Vehicle fire damages house

In a separate incident over the weekend, a fire that damaged a home on Garside Road on Saturday was started by a malfunction in a vehicle parked next to the house.

“There was a pickup truck that was parked beside the house that they had been using earlier in the day,” Lillingston said. “The fellow parked it there and he was working in the garden and there was some pops and bangs and he could see the smoke on the other side of the house.”

The front and passenger compartment of the GMC Sierra was totally consumed by the fire that also burned the siding off the garage of the home. Firefighters doused the blaze before it spread inside the home.

Lillingston said the fire is not suspicious and the investigation is closed unless any new information from possible witnesses were to come to light.

“We don’t have actual cause, but most likely there was an electrical or some sort of a malfunction there,” he said.

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