Space heater causes garage fire

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Boxing Day blaze causes $750,000 in damages

A Boxing Day fire that caused $750,000 in damage to a Deer Ridge home is being blamed on a space heater, says a local fire investigator.

Three fire engines and a rescue truck responded to a call about a garage fire at about 8:50 p.m. on Dec. 26. When firefighters arrived, they found flames burning through the roof of the garage and spreading into the roof of the home.

Fire investigator Les Mroz said it took firefighters two hours to fully extinguish the blaze. They were on scene until 4 a.m.

“By the time the fire department got on scene, they were dealing pretty much with a fully involved structure fire in the roof system and garage,” Mroz said.

No one was injured in the blaze. The two occupants, identified as Roland and Cecile Nadeau, heard some strange noises and went to investigate, where the fire was discovered, Mroz said. There was no smoke detector in the garage, which is not required under the province’s building code.

The damage to the roof of the home caused it to collapse in some parts of the house, Mroz said. The -20 C temperatures also caused some problems for firefighters as they fought the fire.

“Although it’s not the coldest temperatures the guys have fought a fire in, but as a result of the water flow, there was lots of ice on the driveways and streets.”

There was only slight damage to a neighbouring property, thanks mostly to the home’s stucco siding which prevented the flames from burning right through.

“Had it been a garage that had vinyl siding, there’s no doubt in my mind the fire would have breached the exterior wall and likely caused damage to the adjacent neighbouring house,” said Mroz. “The stucco maintained its integrity. There’s just a little bit of heat damage to the neighbouring home.”

People need to be careful when using space heaters or supplementary heaters of any kind, Mroz said. Whether they are electrical stoves or wood or propane heaters, storing them too close to combustible materials, especially when leaving them unsupervised, creates a fire risk.

“You see a lot of fires attributed to heating devices, not just space heaters, but wood stoves, fireplaces. All these things, over the years, the fire services recognize these things can cause problems. In this case, probably through no fault of the owner, this appliance caused some damage.”

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