Nanaimo Fire Rescue haven’t yet determined the cause of a house fire on Uplands Drive on Sunday. NEWS BULLETIN photo

Nanaimo Fire Rescue haven’t yet determined the cause of a house fire on Uplands Drive on Sunday. NEWS BULLETIN photo

Investigators find fire causes tough to pin down

Multiple structure fires under investigation, but clues to what sparked them remain elusive

Investigations into recent structure fires in Nanaimo have yet to yield solid conclusions as to their causes.

The cause of a fire in a home from which seven people escaped on Uplands Drive early Sunday has yet to be fully explained.

Capt. Ennis Mond, Nanaimo Fire Rescue chief fire prevention officer, said Tuesday the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Mond has ruled out cigarettes as the cause, but is looking carefully at the possibility the fire was started either by a propane-fuelled fire pit or burning mosquito coils.

“We’ve finished our onsite stuff, but we still have to go over a few things with the owner,” Mond said.

He said although the fire definitely started out on the deck, the people who were attending a family gathering before the fire broke out don’t smoke.

“The fire went from the deck, to the house and up into the roof,” Mond said. “So on the deck they had a portable propane-fuelled fire pit – that’s one of the things we’re looking at – and they also had mosquito coils. Nothing definitive yet.”

Kevin Lillingston, fire prevention officer investigating fires in south Nanaimo, said the cause of a blaze that heavily damaged a coach house at 47 Haliburton St. might never be known.

That fire broke out as firefighters were battling the blaze at Uplands Drive.

“Severely damaged. We’re unable to determine a cause,” Lillingston said.

Lillingston said he hadn’t yet heard if that house is insured. If it is, the insurance company may send its own investigator to inspect the house to try to determine an ignition source.

A small fire that broke out behind a planter on the upper floor of the Value Lodge on Nicol Street on Monday afternoon did little damage, but nevertheless left no trace of what sparked the fire in the first place.

“It was a planter outside a window on the upper floor,” Lillingston said. “We couldn’t find a cause. Typically those are caused by cigarettes, but we couldn’t find a cigarette butt in amongst the planter.”

The fire was spotted early by a motel guest who knocked it down with a fire extinguisher, so fire damage was minimal, but Mond said had the fire could have been far more serious.

“It’s not a ton of damage, but potentially it could have been really bad,” Mond said.

A boat fire on Park Avenueon Monday morning also remains under RCMP investigation.

The boat had been left on the roadside Sunday by its owner with a sign that read ‘Free’ attached to it, Lillingston said.

The boat caught fire for unknown reasons Monday shortly after 9 a.m.

“There was no witnesses to the fire so it’s currently under police investigation,” he said.



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