Oil furnace failure sparked Shelbourne St. house fire

Investigators have determined that a mechanical failure with an oil-fired furnace started a fire that burned through a home in the 3300-block of Shelbourne Street home last Friday, killing a family dog.

Assistant Chief Rich Pala, with the Saanich Fire Department, says while the cause has been determined to be accidental, the flames were fuelled by nearby items.

"There was storage around the furnace that contributed to the growth of the fire. We would remind residents to make sure they don't store any combustibles near their furnace," Pala said.

He also noted that the home was not equipped with smoke alarms.

"The Building Code and municipal bylaws require smokes alarms on every level of a residence. And we would remind everyone to test their smoke alarms monthly, and change their batteries every six months," Pala said.

The fire began around 11:55 p.m. on Jan. 3 while two people were inside the home. Both managed to escape without injury.

Fire crews rescued the family dog from inside, but attempts to resuscitate the animal were unsuccessful.

Damage to the home and contents is estimated at $300,000.


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