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Broken bulb sparks vehicle, duplex fire

Aug 31 2012

One spark ignited a blaze that destroyed a Nanaimo duplex this week.

The homes were engulfed in flame when Nanaimo firefighters arrived on scene just after 1 p.m. Wednesday.

It took less than five minutes for fire crews to douse the blaze, which had quickly spread throughout the two homes.

Al Jovine was changing the fuel filter in his car inside his friend Dennis Trefiak's garage when the work light blew, sparking a fire.

Trefiak was underneath the car at the time of the explosion.

"He came out of the garage on fire," said Jovine. "I had to knock him down on the front lawn and smother him."

Melissa Bingham, who lives adjacent to the home, looked out her living room window and saw her neighbour's garage engulfed in flames.

"[Trefiak] was standing in front of the van [parked in his driveway] with a garden hose trying to put out the fire," said Bingham, who called 911.

Bingham said Trefiak attempted to get in the van to move it despite the fact the engine was on fire.

"But when he opened the door, the tires exploded," said Bingham.

The neighbours were not home at the time of the fire.

"If this is a lesson to anyone around the dangers of working with gas," said Jovine.

"We hardly had any time to react, it went up that quick."

Jovine suffered minor injuries and Trefiak was taken to hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries.

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