An electrical appliance failure likely caused the fire that killed one Saanich resident and rendered large parts of an apartment building uninhabitable last week.
This tentative finding appears in a release from the Saanich Fire Department after investigators concluded their initial investigation into the fire that tore through an apartment building in the 2600-block of Richmond Road during early morning hours of June 21.
“The investigation showed that the fire was likely caused by an electrical appliance failure, possibly a small space heater, speaker or a failed power bar,” it reads. But investigators have also tempered this conclusion. “However, further investigation will be required and these items have been taken for further forensic examination,” it added.
The building had passed a fire inspection as recently as May 8, 2019, by the Saanich Fire Department.
The four-storey apartment building sustained what the release described as “heavy damage” from the fourth-floor fire, which drew out crews from three departments.
Of the 85 units, 31 units remain uninhabitable. “Residents from the remaining suites have been able to return home,” it reads. Emergency Social Services is assisting 22 displaced residents until Thursday morning, before transitioning support for these residents to relevant agencies.
The release did not mention the name of the woman, who died because of the fire. Crews found the woman believed to be in her 60s in the hallway of the fourth floor. She later succumbed to her injuries. Two other residents were sent to hospital, suffering from smoke inhalation.