The second apartment fire in Port Alberni in less than week has displaced multiple residents just before the holiday season.
Fire crews from Port Alberni Fire Department and Sproat Lake Volunteer Fire Department were called out at 3 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 19 to a report of a structure fire on Seventh Avenue. Crews arrived to find heavy smoke and fire issuing from the second floor of a three-storey apartment building, said PAFD Chief Mike Owens. The fire was already starting to spread to the third floor from the second storey window.
There were still occupants inside of the building when crews arrived.
“Their priority was to make entry to search and rescue the individuals inside of the building,” said Owens.
Two different people from two different units were pulled from the building, one of whom had to be transported to West Coast General Hospital for treatment. There were no fatalities.
The fire resulted in “extensive smoke damage” to multiple suites, said Owens, and all apartments were temporarily evacuated as power to the building was shut off. A reception area was set up at the Echo Centre for the 24 individuals who were displaced from their units.
“Some are staying with family and friends, some are staying in local hotels,” said Owens.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Owens said there is “nothing to suggest” the fire was suspicious.
This is the second apartment fire in Port Alberni in just a matter of days that has displaced multiple residents. Owens said there don’t appear to be any links between the two fires.
“It’s just unfortunate timing as we head into the holidays,” said Owens. “Housing in the Alberni Valley is hard to come by.”
Owens said after the investigation is complete, the building will be handed back to the owners, with the hopes that tenants will be able to return to the suites that are undamaged.