A small basement fire in the 800 block of Victoria Street was quickly extinguished by the Nelson Fire Department on Tuesday morning just after 11:30 a.m.
“It appears a backhoe struck a power line, pulled it off the house and caused the breaker panel to get really hot,” said Rick Maida, at the scene. The breaker then burst into flames.
Upon arrival at the scene, firefighters saw smoke coming from the basement as well as from downed electrical lines in the yard. Their first priority was to shut off power.
Nelson Hydro was able to quickly oblige, allowing the firefighters to enter the building and extinguish the blaze.
All the house’s occupants were able to safely flee the building after the fire alarm alerted them to the danger.
“There were a number of household items up against there that caught fire, electrical wires. The fire was really quick and they knocked it down. But this is an older home without a lot of fire separation, and with a delay this could have easily spread throughout the rest of the home very quickly,” said Maida.
Due to the proximity of nearby homes, the fire could have spread to neighbouring properties. Maida said the event was a potential crisis averted.
All on-duty firefighters arrived at the scene, and were joined by four off-duty members who responded from home. Chief Len MacCharles said he’s pleased with the outcome.
“The first arriving crew made an aggressive attack, preventing the fire from going beyond the area it began. They did a great job,” he said.
The Nelson Fire Department, BC Safety Authority Electrical Branch and Worksafe BC are all investigating the fire.