Nanaimo RCMP’s serious crime unit is investigating after a man’s body was found in a home destroyed by fire — a death that has been deemed suspicious.
The fire broke out at a south-end home on Athletic Street at around 5 p.m. Thursday.
Firefighters responded to reports of black smoke seen billowing from windows at the home, according to RCMP.
Neighbours called 9-1-1.
“Smoke was billowing out of the house. Nobody was around and thankfully our neighbour called the fire department. They arrived. There was a dog chained up outside but no occupants at home,” said John Collens, a neighbour.
The blaze was quickly contained and extinguished within 40 minutes of their arrival.
When crews entered the home, they found the body of an adult male.
“It’s considered a suspicious death given the nature of the fire and the location of the body. The investigation has been turned over to the serious crime unit,” said Cst. Gary O’Brien with Nanaimo RCMP.
“The guy across the street was saying there were about four or five people that just left suddenly before the cops showed up,” said Geoff Garman, a neighbour.
Police say though the City of Nanaimo has not declared it a nuisance property yet they’ve visited the home dozens of times over the past year. Neighbours say it’s a drug house.
“Yeah. Cars are going back and forth continually. 24/7,” said Garman.
“I hope that house is gone. I hope the occupants don’t come back. We need to have a bit safer neighbourhood. there are kids here that play. They need to grow up in a safe neighbourhood,” said Collens.
CHEK News has reached out to the homes owners who live on Gabriola Island but has yet to get a response.
Police are asking anyone with information on the incident to call them at 250-754-2345 and quote file number 2022-27862.
This is the third fatal fire within three months in Nanaimo. An elderly man died in a fire on Quill Drive in June and another elderly man died in a fire in his Adams Avenue home in late May though neither death was suspicious.