Quick action by a parking lot attendant prevented a small fire from getting out of control at a Saanich Centre store.
Uta Mardaus noticed one of the decorations wasn’t working in the window of her store Sunset Casuals July 24 and went to plug it in.
“The minute I plugged it in there was smoke coming out. I wasn’t sure if I should pull it, but it’s a good thing I didn’t because I would have been shocked,” she said.
Fighting off panic, Mardaus ran and grabbed the fire extinguisher but was unable to pull the pin.
“What I didn’t know was that in order to pull the pin you have to hold it by the bottom, not the handle.”
She ran outside the store screaming for help, catching the attention of the parking lot attendant.
“He just came to the rescue, otherwise this whole building would have been gone,” said Mardaus, who was shaken up by the experience.
“I went home and went to bed for two days.”
While the fire was quickly extinguished, she said there was an estimated $50,000 in smoke damage to the clothing inside the store.
But Mardaus considers the experience a valuable lesson, as she learned the proper way to use a fire extinguisher as well as the dangers of “piggybacking” extension cords.