QUALICUM BEACH -Two Dashwood residents are lucky to be alive after the recreational vehicle they lived in at the Riverside Resort caught fire Wednesday afternoon.
Dashwood Fire Department Chief Nick Acciavatti said firefighters received a call about an RV on fire at 1:13 p.m. and 12 firefighters, two engines and a rescue truck from both his hall and Qualicum Beach were at the scene within seven minutes. However, when they arrived they found the RV fully ablaze.
“Both the occupants got out,” Acciavatti said. “They were lucky they had working smoke detectors so they could get out.”
Although they were personally unhurt, the two people living in the unit lost their pet cat, along with all their personal belongings.
Initial investigations seem to implicate an electrical problem as the cause of the fire.
“We’re looking at an electrical overload with extension cords,” Acciavatti said.
He noted this would not be the first time an overloaded electrical cord has been implicated in a fire at the same resort.
“It’s a trend we’re seeing and it’s not a good one,” he said. “This is not the first time we had a fire from an overloaded extension cord. Two years ago there was a space heater that overloaded.”
He noted the Dashwood Fire Department has distributed electrical safety pamphlets at the park.
He said it’s crucial for people to make sure the draw of power going through a cord matches the cord’s capacity.
“The appliance they are plugging the cord into has to match the cord,” he said. “If you have a 15-amp space heater plugged into an 11 amp extension cord, it isn’t going to work properly.”
Sometimes, he noted, people coil the power cords underneath furniture to keep it out of the way, making even more likely to overheat, melt and cause a fire.
He said the incident stands as a warning to others.
“It’s a good message to get out to the public, to have working smoke detectors and not to overload their electrical cords,” he said.