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Downtown Nanaimo dental office destroyed by suspicious fire

Two men arrested and were scheduled to appear in court Aug. 22.
Nanaimo Fire Rescue work to knock down the flames of a structure fire that destroyed at dental office at the corner of Richards and Wentworth streets in downtown Nanaimo the evening of Saturday, Aug. 19. (Mandy Moraes/News Bulletin)

A fire devastated a dental office in downtown Nanaimo over the weekend.

Fire crews, RCMP and ambulance services were called out to reports of a structure fire on the corner of Wentworth and Richards streets at approximately 7:50 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19.

Troy Libbus, Nanaimo Fire Rescue assistant chief of operations, was on scene and said three engines and one truck responded to the blaze in the 400 block of Wentworth.

“Upon arrival, Engine 1 had a fully involved fire on the front of the structure, and they quickly knocked it down to pause the fire,” he said. “From there, multiple crews continued with fire operations and searched the building for occupants.”

The assistant chief confirmed no one was found inside the building and that smoke detectors were sounding when they entered. No injuries were reported during the incident.

The exterior of the building sustained heavy damage and the interior sustained smoke damage as well.

“Initial crew put water on instantly. Luckily it didn’t go inside the building at this time … within an hour we had everything under control,” he said. “In this case, it’s been dry and the weather has been hot, so we are concerned of radiant heat in other homes. We’re also concerned about any embers that go to any other residents … We take a step back and we take in everything around so we can keep the community safe.”

Nanaimo RCMP said in a press release that two men were arrested in connection with the fire. The suspects were arrested “a short distance from the fire” and have been remanded into police custody with an expected appearance in Nanaimo provincial court on Tuesday, Aug. 22.

As the investigation continues, police ask anyone with information related to the incident who has not spoken with police to call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and reference file No. 2023-28934.

READ MORE: Fast Nanaimo Fire Rescue response stops fire at Caledonia Park from spreading

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Mandy Moraes

About the Author: Mandy Moraes

I joined Black Press Media in 2020 as a multimedia reporter for the Parksville Qualicum Beach News, and transferred to the News Bulletin in 2022
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