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Fire sets off ammunition inside home in rural area south of Nanaimo

No one was home at the time of the fire. A neighbour saved the family dogs but two cats are missing.
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A tanker truck had to carry water from a fire hydrant up the hill to the house. FILE PHOTO

A fast-burning fire destroyed a 3,000-square-foot house in a rural area south of Nanaimo on Tuesday morning, setting off ammunition stored inside.

The Cranberry Volunteer Fire Department was called to the scene shortly before 10 a.m. The fire was under control an hour later, said Fire Chief Ron Gueulette.

No one was injured. The couple who owns the large rancher was out at the time. They have insurance, the fire chief said.

A neighbour saved the family dogs but two cats are missing, Gueulette said, adding that the couple has a lot of community support.

The house, on Muzwell Hill in the Extension District close to Nanaimo, is located at the top of a hill, about 30 metres above a fire hydrant.

Volunteer firefighters from the Extension and North Cedar fire departments were on hand. A tanker truck carried water from the fire hydrant up the hill to the house.

The homeowner had ammunition, which was legally allowed, Gueulette said. “There were some explosions.”

It was different calibres including a .22, he said. Firefighters cooled down the ammunition.

The cause of the fire, which started in the garage, is not known and is being investigated.

Firefighters kept an eye on the site Tuesday for any hot spots.