Residents flee homes in north Nanaimo as fire consumes house


WATCH: The hours leading up to a terrifying late night fire in a north Nanaimo neighbourhood are under investigation. Neighbours say flames from an engulfed home were shooting 90 feet up in the air, from an unoccupied home just before midnight Saturday night. Residents ran door-to-door on Orchard Circle alerting one another to get out. Skye Ryan reports. 

Cradling her six-week-old baby, and reliving the night they just lived, Savannah Edis is shaken but grateful.

Neighbours and firefighters came to her young family’s rescue Saturday overnight when flames were leaping from a fully-engulfed home next door.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared in my life to be quite honest,” said Edis. “With four little kids at home they totally depend on us to get out and that was a little terrifying,” she said.

Residents ran door-to-door in Orchard Circle to alert each other while flames swallowed up a vacant home.

The family was woken up by a neighbour banging on their door just before midnight.

“And there was our neighbour,” said Edis. ” “Fire,” she recalls him saying “you need to get out,”

“The flames were twice as high as the house,” said neighbour Wes Pascoe. “It was huge. I thought two houses were on fire so much so that I got my wife up and said you better be up and dressed.”

“It was just really close to home. Too close to home right. Three doors down,” said resident Arwen Martyn.

Neighbours knew the residents of the destroyed home moved out last Tuesday, so their immediate concern was getting residents close by out, as Nanaimo firefighters went to work.

So Savannah Edis and her husband grabbed their children and had to run fast.

“Her and I tripped,” said Elis referring to her five-year-old Nadya whose face is scraped.

“Which is why she looks like this [showing the scrape] and my knees are looking pretty bad when the electricity blew and we didn’t know where it was so I shoved her in front of me, because we didn’t know if our house was on fire or the next door neighbours,” said Edis.

The vacant home was quickly destroyed by the fire.

The flames licked neighbouring homes but fortunately never spread further than searing their exteriors.

Edis credits the quick work of firefighters for that.

“If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have our house I’m sure,” said Edis. “It would have spread pretty fast.”

Fire investigators will now try to solve the mystery burning in this quiet Nanaimo neighbourhood. What sparked an empty house to catch fire four days after people moved out of it, shaking a street that had been fast asleep?

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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