Nanaimo Fire says the cause of a fire that evacuated businesses in the 60 block of Commercial Street was the result of a fire caused by a homeless man in the stairwell of the parking garage.
Fire officials say a homeless man who was lighting drugs had his clothing catch on fire, and that was the result of the blaze that broke out yesterday afternoon around 2 p.m.
There was no damage to the businesses in the area, but one had to be aired out because of smoke.
Witness Rose says fire alarms are a reoccurring event and no one gave it urgency in the beginning.
“We didn’t evacuate because smoking in the stairwell is a common occurrence,” she says. “It wasn’t until an officer told us, ‘There is an actual fire’ that we evacuated.”
One homeless man suffered severe burns to his legs, arms, and neck and was transported to Nanaimo Regional Hospital where he is expected to recover.