Smoke billows from under the Pearson Bridge on Terminal Avenue in Nanaimo after a propane tank ignited and started a fire in a shelter in a homeless encampment under the bridge on fire Wednesday, Feb. 17. (Photo courtesy Chris Jeffs)

Smoke billows from under the Pearson Bridge on Terminal Avenue in Nanaimo after a propane tank ignited and started a fire in a shelter in a homeless encampment under the bridge on fire Wednesday, Feb. 17. (Photo courtesy Chris Jeffs)

Propane tank mishap burns homeless shelter under a bridge in Nanaimo

No known injuries or damage to the bridge after fire Wednesday, Feb. 17

Firefighters in Nanaimo were called out to douse a blaze under a bridge to and from the city’s downtown.

The blaze broke out at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, under the Pearson Bridge that spans the Millstone River on Terminal Avenue near Maffeo Sutton Park.

“We had homeless people living under the bridge and one of them let a propane tank go,” said Capt. Alan Millbank, head of Nanaimo Fire Rescues Fire and Loss Prevention division, who investigated the fire. “Nobody was hurt. It looks like they all got out.”

Millbank said the propane tank was a small one typically used for camping stoves. The fire ignited a makeshift shelter that had been constructed under a hollow space in the bridge structure. The bridge did not sustain any damage.

Millbank declined to comment on what steps might be taken regarding shelters under the bridge, but did express concern over the potential for the risk of fires there.

“It’s dangerous when those things are burning and people are walking by it, as well as for the people inside,” he said.

READ ALSO: City dismantling Wesley Street homeless encampment after fire



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