(Image / Brishti Basu)

Saanich Fire Department has discovered the likely cause of a deadly fire that occured in a large Saanich apartment building early Friday morning.

According to fire department officials, the blaze that tragically killed one woman and injured two others at the Brookside Manor building at 2623 Richmond Road on June 21st was likely caused by an electrical appliance failure.

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“The investigation showed that the fire was likely caused by an electrical appliance failure, possibly a small space heater, speaker or a failed power bar,” said the Saanich Fire Department in a release.

“However, further investigation will be required and these items have been taken for further forensic examination.”

At approximately 4:30 a.m. on June 21st, Saanich Fire Department received reports of a fire at the Brookside Manor building at 2623 Richmond Road at approximately 4:30 a.m.

According to Saanich Fire, first responders found heavy smoke and a significant fire when they first arrived at the 85-suite, four-storey apartment.

While firefighters evacuated the blaze and rescued residents stranded on balconies, one woman was tragically found unresponsive in a fourth floor hallway of the building, and two others were taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation injuries.

According to fire investigators, the blaze started in the unit in which the female victim lived.

A little over a month before the tragic incident, on May 8, 2019, the Saanich Fire Department had given the building a passing grade in its fire inspection.

Residents unable to return

According to the Saanich Fire Department, 31 of the 85 suites in the building were affected by the fire and remain uninhabitable.

While some residents have returned to the building, 22 displaced residents are receiving support from Emergency Social Services until Thursday morning.

“I was shaking and nervous when I evacuated since I saw smoke coming out of a suite next to mine,” building resident Chelsea Dunning told Victoria Buzz.

“I wasn’t injured and my apartment sustained no damage whatsoever, thank goodness. I returned to daily life in my apartment on Sunday after spending the weekend at my boyfriend’s place.”

For those residents whose apartments did sustain heavy damage, the Saanich Emergency Program will work to transition support to agencies that provide social services for a longer time period, after Thursday.

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