The Campbell River Fire Department provided this photo showing a structure fire on Old Petersen Road on Aug. 12, 2019.

Three Vancouver Island fires, three failed smoke detectors

Fire chief urges residents to check smoke detectors following structure fires in Campbell River

A Vancouver Island fire department is warning residents to check their smoke detectors following a series of three structure fires.

“What’s important in all of three of these is none of them had working smoke alarms,” said Campbell River Fire Chief Thomas Doherty.

On Aug. 12, flames destroyed the upper part of a two-storey home on Old Petersen Road. In that case, firefighters were told the alarms didn’t go off, Doherty said.

“The second floor of the home was fully involved in fire when we arrived,” he said, adding that one male was transported to hospital for smoke inhalation and burns to his hands.

The owner of the home said there was some “smoking material on the bed that may have been knocked over,” resulting in the blaze, according to Doherty.

Doherty couldn’t specify the kind of smoking material it was, but said it might have been a cigarette.

The upper storey of the home will need to be replaced entirely, and there was water damage to the lower floor, he said. A short video clip posted to social media by the Campbell River Fire Department shows dark smoke billowing from the home as flames consume the second storey.

Doherty added that firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading to various structures, including an RV, a mobile home and a portable garage.

Two smaller fires also took place late last week, and both cases involved smoke alarms that didn’t go off, he said.

On Aug. 15 at a townhouse development on Rockland Road, ambulance workers discovered a fire while responding to a medical call, he said.

Fire crews contained it to a burning mattress in a bedroom, Doherty said, adding that it was another case of “smoking material on a bed.”

The third incident was a kitchen fire at an apartment building on 9th Avenue early on the morning of Aug. 16.

Fortunately, that fire was already out by the time firefighters arrived on-scene, where they found smoke in the unit and the hallway.

There were signs of a grease fire that damaged the hood and fan of the stove and scorched the walls.

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