Burned out Beaufort tenants find new digs

Tenants displaced by a fire at the Beaufort Hotel have found new digs, but when they can move back into the hotel is up in the air.

Tenants displaced by a fire at the Beaufort Hotel last week have found new digs, but when they can move back into their rooms at the hotel is up in the air.

Fire crews responded to a call about a fire at the hotel on Sept. 13 after 11 p.m, Deputy Fire Chief Chris Jancowski said.

There, firemen took minutes to douse a blaze in a room on the second floor.

The building sustained smoke and water damage, but the sprinkler system prevented the fire from growing.

“It did its job,” Jancowski said.

The fire displaced approximately 12-15 tenants, who were housed in alternative accommodations for four nights via emergency social services.

More permanent accommodations are in place now, said BC Housing outreach worker Mark Cairney.

“The Canadian Mental Health Association has some, the (Port Alberni) shelter has a few, and (owner Paul) Saroya has housed some at his other facilities,” Cairney said.

Residents are anxious and under stress about their situation and some with health issues have a problem with things like stairs at their new accommodations. “But there’s not exactly an overabundance of housing in town so this is it,” he said.

Mental health and addictions workers attended to the fire scene and have helped tenants with medication and personal needs, Cairney said.

Officials have determined that the cause of the fire is human, but Jancowski couldn’t say exactly how it was started.

Building owner Paul Saroya said restoration crews have been busy since last weekend repairing damage to the building.

Crews are waiting for the inside to dry before an electrician can come in to perform repairs, Saroya said. After repairs are made, the building has to be inspected before tenants will be allowed back in, he added.

According to Saroya, the fire started in one of the rooms. While the sprinkler system contained the fire,  there were problems shutting it off afterward, he said. “It didn’t completely shut off after and water leaked all over and through the ceiling,” he said.

As well, he will have to replace a door that firemen kicked in to get tenants out who were unaware of the fire.

reporter@valleynews.com

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