A neighbour on his way to Nanaimo’s Santa Claus parade alerted Carmanah Way residents to a house fire Saturday afternoon.
The structure fire damaged a garage but was contained there by Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews.
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Scott Newlands and his family had just left for downtown that afternoon when he noticed smoke billowing from a house, pulled his vehicle over and ran to knock on the door. He could see a teenage girl inside.
“I think I scared her a little bit because I was in a bit of a panic to see if anyone was in there and I think she was a bit hesitant to come to the door. She had no idea the house was on fire,” Newlands said.
The girl evacuated, along with the family dog, while Newlands called 911 and let other neighbours know about the fire, too.
He said he normally doesn’t drive along Carmanah and just happened to decide to go that way.
“And I guess luckily, because you just never know who’s the next person in line it’s going to be to notice things and take action,” Newlands said.
He said fire crews seemed to get the fire under control quickly, while he and his family left because they didn’t want to miss the parade. They made it in time, got to see Santa, and despite the rain, “the kids loved it,” Newlands said.
Brad Wood, City of Nanaimo Fire Rescue assistant chief, said residents were allowed back in the house Saturday night. The cause of the fire still wasn’t known Sunday, but the department’s fire prevention division will investigate on Monday.