A man’s quick thinking prevented a fire from getting out of control at a home on Burnside Road West last week.
The Saanich Fire Department reports the upstairs tenant in a duplex noticed a smokey haze in his unit on the morning of Feb. 5.
“After banging on the windows and door to the unit below, an occupant awoke in the downstairs suite and discovered his brother in the adjacent bedroom asleep with the mattress on fire,” said Saanich Fire Capt. Rich Pala in a statement.
“The occupant then grabbed a blanket and after pouring water onto it, threw the blanket over his brother and the mattress before pulling his brother from the bedroom.”
The upstairs tenant then used a fire extinguisher on the blaze until firefighters arrived and quickly extinguished the fire.
The fire department reports there was no structural damage to the home and about $2,500 damage to the contents. All occupants were safely evacuated from the home with one man sustaining minor smoke inhalation.
“Saanich Fire investigators have determined the cause of this fire to be from a cigarette which fell between the bed and the wall closet in the early hours of the morning,” said Pala. “Investigators credit the quick action of both the upstairs tenant and the brother in the downstairs unit with saving the occupant’s life.”
Investigators determined that the smoke alarm in the downstairs unit was not working at the time of the fire due to a dead battery. The Saanich Fire Department installed working smoke alarms in both the lower and upper suites prior to leaving the scene.
“Close calls like this reminds us of the critical need to have working smoke alarms in all homes and that those alarms be located where they can be heard by occupants who are sleeping,” said Pala.
Statistics show the majority of deaths from fire are in situations where alarms are either not present or not working because batteries were dead, disconnected or missing. Residents are reminded to replace batteries and test alarms twice a year. The Saanich Fire Department’s Fire Prevention members are available to assist Saanich residents who may have difficulty checking, installing or maintaining their smoke alarms.