One man was hospitalized and he and eight others were displaced by an early-morning blaze firefighters believe was caused by smoking.
Nanaimo Fire and Rescue firefighters found one unit completely engulfed in flames at the Madrona Village complex on Pryde Avenue when they arrived at 6: 14 a.m. Monday.
The fire caused extensive damage to the unit where the fire started, scorched two adjacent units and caused smoke damage throughout the four-plex, rendering all units unfit for living.
Residents of all four units were left without a roof over their heads but were put into temporary emergency shelter.
Fire investigators are still talking to witnesses but are relatively confident unextinguished cigarettes were involved.
“It was pretty burnt out,” said Ennis Mond, Nanaimo Fire Rescue investigator.
“After interviewing the person living there, we suspect it was smoking. He did smoke inside the unit. He was on the couch sleeping and woke up to a fire burning behind him.”
The man was taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital with suspected smoke inhalation and burns. He was later released. The man, who owns the condo, has fire insurance.
Neighbouring tenants were uninsured. Though fire damage was minimal, smoke made the other units uninhabitable.
Those affected range from an infant through middle-aged adults.
Fire crews doused the blaze quickly, controlling the flames before they could spread.
“There was some smoke and outside structural damage spread over into other homes,” sad Karen Linsday, emergency program manager with Nanaimo Fire Rescue.
Tenants in two adjacent units and a family with three children, including a newborn in a fourth unit, were moved into temporary 72-hour housing.
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