A fire that destroyed a home along Reef Road in Nanoose Bay Tuesday night is the third in a string of “excessive” structure fires in the area in the last six months, according to Nanoose Bay Volunteer Fire Department fire chief Doug Penny.
While nobody was injured in the fire, Penny called the insured home “a write off.”
He said 17 firefighters responded to the incident at approximately 9 p.m. that night and it was put out within the first hour.
“We’re leaning towards a roof fire,” Penny told The NEWS when asked about the cause of the fire. “I guess there were pieces of hot embers from the fireplace that fell onto the roof setting the roof on fire.”
He said two occupants were inside the home at the time of the fire but escaped when they noticed a reflection from the fire.
“(A woman) was looking outside and saw an orange reflection and didn’t know where it was coming from,” Penny explained. “Her husband realized the roof was on fire and called 911.”
Penny said it was a challenging fire to tackle.
“Access is an issue when you have a burning roof,” he said. “It was difficult to get firefighters in safely.”
Penny said this serves as a good reminder to keep your chimneys clean.
Last week’s house fire sheds light on a particularly busy fire season in Nanoose Bay.
“We’ve had a few people concerned,” admitted Penny. “In Beachcomber none of the fires have been suspicious in nature at all.”
In his 29 years as fire chief, Penny said fire seasons vary without any rhyme or reason.
“A few years ago we had five structure fires within a six month period, in fact two were only six days apart,” he recalls. “And then from 2005 to 2010 there were no excessive structures fires … it’s just weird.”
A concerned Beachcomber resident e-mailed The NEWS asking if the high number of structure fires has anything to do with “new hydro meters installed in all of our homes” or an arson in the area.
In response, Penny said “none of them are related to hydro meters at all and we’ve been able to put a cause to each fire…So they’re not suspicious and not (caused by) hydro meters.”