A smoldering cigarette is thought to be the cause of a fire at a Melrose Street complex on Monday afternoon. One person was found dead inside and seven other residents have been forced from their homes because of smoke and fire damage.

Cigarette likely started fatal Alberni fire

A smoldering cigarette likely caused the fire that ripped through a four-plex claiming the life of a female resident on Monday.

A smoldering cigarette likely caused  the fire that ripped through a four-plex claiming the life of a female resident on Monday, Port Alberni Fire Chief Tim Pley said.

“The physical evidence at the fire suggests that the fire was accidental,” Pley said. “It’s highly likely that it was started by a cigarette.”

No cigarette was found at the scene. “But everything is consistent with a fire started by a cigarette,” Pley said.

The RCMP investigation into the fire is still ongoing.

The BC Coroner’s Service removed the body from the residence  on Tuesday. Officials won’t  release the identity of the victim yet pending notification of next of kin, spokesperson Barb McLintock said.

On Monday afternoon, fire crews from three departments responded to the rental unit on Third Avenue and Melrose

Firefighters found the lower suite already consumed with smoke and flames and was emitting extreme heat, Pley said.

Crews battled the blaze for two hours.

Pley confirmed that one person was found dead in the lower suite, but he could not confirm if the person was male or female, he said.

Area residents say it was a female in her 60’s.

Three other suites in the building suffered smoke and fire damage. Seven other residents were displaced and have since been helped by Victims Services.

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