Nanaimo Fire Rescue is again raising the alarm about smoking in bed and not having working smoke alarms.
The warning follows a fire in an apartment bedroom on the 200 block of Victoria Road shortly after 3 a.m. Wednesday that could have turned deadly had it not been caught early.
“This fire had the potential to be a serious fire, however there was nothing more than a burned mattress due to smoking,” said Alan Millbank, Nanaimo Fire Rescue fire prevention officer, in an e-mail. “[The tenant] was able to stay in her suite in a multi-family apartment building after the premises was vented and only lost the mattress and box spring. Luckily the woman woke up to the fire before it became too large.”
According to statistics published by the B.C. Office of the Fire Commissioner, smoking is one of the top three causes of fires in homes and fire fatalities.
“People who smoke and are careless with discarding, or extinguishing smoking materials, can be placing not only there own lives at risk, but the lives of others due to fire,” Millbank said.
Millbank went on to say the second issue with this fire was the smoke alarm was not functioning in the apartment complex and the fire department want tenants to be tell their landlords about non-operational smoke alarms and have them replaced and if not replaced, to contact Nanaimo Fire Rescue. Homeowners and renters should check to see if smoke alarms are installed and if the alarms are expired or have dead batteries to replace the batteries or, if necessary, the entire smoke alarm unit.
“I think that it would be important to reiterate that people who smoke inside should not disable their smoke alarm as it is an offence to tamper with fire safety equipment,” Millbank said.