Mary Dick cries outside of her burned out residence on Falls Street on Tuesday morning. A last minute by Dick to go and visit a friend shortly before the fire started likely saved her life

Mary Dick cries outside of her burned out residence on Falls Street on Tuesday morning. A last minute by Dick to go and visit a friend shortly before the fire started likely saved her life

Alberni woman escapes fire in close call

A last-minute decision to visit a friend saved Alberni resident Mary Dick from burning to death or being injured in a fire, she said.

A last-minute decision to go and visit a friend likely saved Port Alberni resident Mary Brawn (Dick) from burning to death or being severely injured in a fire, she said.

Brawn and her daughter Rosemary were residents in a Falls Street fourplex that was heavily damaged by fire on Monday night. Brawn’s unit was among the two that suffered the most damage.

She stood crying outside the unit on Tuesday morning. Her residence was located only one metre in front of her. Pictures of her mother and daughter hung on a wall just inside the broken front window.

But the unit was behind yellow fire scene tape and she was unable to retrieve her belongings. “I just want some of my stuff. There’s pictures of my mom and Rose right there,” Brawn said. “I don’t have anything. All I have is the clothes on my back.”

Firemen from Port Alberni, Beaver Creek and Sproat Lake brought the blaze under control within a half hour and remained on the scene until midnight mopping up. There were no fatalities or injuries reported, Beaver Creek Volunteer Fire Department Chief Charlie Starratt said.

Two of the inside living units sustained heavy fire damage while the two corner units suffered only smoke and water damage. The investigation into the cause of the fire continues, Starratt said.

At Monday’s city council meeting, Port Alberni Fire Chief Tim Pley told councillors that at least two residents are receiving assistance through emergency social services.

Brawn said she was dozing on her couch while watching television on Monday night. Her daughter had gone to visit someone and Mary was at home alone.

She debated on going to sleep but got up instead to go and visit a friend. By the time she got there someone called to say that her place was on fire.

Brawn said she rushed back only to find fire engines outside her burning complex. “I was so close to something bad happening – what if I went to sleep? The smoke could have got me,” Brawn said.

Brawn isn’t sure how much of her belongings she can salvage. “I just have the clothes I was wearing and I had to borrow my friend Ken’s shoes,” she said.

Brawn’s living unit is uninhabitable and she is without a place to live. A friend has offered to take her in for the time being until she gets more permanently settled, she said.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

Twitter.com/AlberniNews

 

Edited to reflect Mary Dick’s married name (Brawn).

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

A mantle of smoke overhangs the city of Port Alberni, indicating a thermal inversion of the sort that commonly traps harmful smoke particulate in winter. (MIKE YOUDS PHOTO)
Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District one step closer to burning bylaws

ACRD staff make amendments after public engagement

Aidan See played for the North Island Silvertips during the 2019-2020 season. (PHOTO COURTESY RON HAYES)
VIJHL: Port Alberni Bombers add hometown talent to roster

Junior B hockey club signs Aidan See, Blake Power and Grayson Erickson

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read