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UPDATE: Nanaimo house where fatal fire occurred had no working smoke alarms

Nanaimo Fire Rescue completes its investigation into Tuesday’s fatal fire
A small memorial began in a plant pot behind the home at 754 Nicol St. shortly after investigators left the scene of a fire that claimed the lives of three people Tuesday. Fire investigators have concluded that the fire was accidentally started by candles left unattended. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

There were no working smoke alarms at the Nicol Street home where three people died in a fire Tuesday.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue has concluded its investigation at 754 Nicol St. and determined that the fire was accidental, probably caused by an unattended candle.

“Nothing of [the investigation] proved that they had working smoke alarms,” said Nanaimo Fire Rescue chief Karen Fry at a press conference Friday.

She said investigators believed the fire started in the early morning hours.

“It was what we call and oxygen-deprived fire, so it was burning for a long period of time and then cooled down and then maybe reignited as it spread further throughout the house, at which time it was probably noticed by the passersby,” Fry said.

The fire chief said candles are a leading cause of fire and are dangerous, and said three-quarters of fire deaths could be prevented with working smoke alarms.

“It’s an early detection system that allows you to escape a fire,” Fry said.

She said the three deaths are tragic.

“This family was involved in the community, a lot of people knew them, people that we work with knew them, as well,” Fry said. “Anytime we lose a family or children it’s heart-breaking, so we’re grieving with the family, with their friends, with the community and our firefighters are hurting as well.”