Port Alberni Fire Department deputy Chief Wes Patterson, right, talks to an RCMP member at an incident involving the former Acklands-Grainger building at Third Avenue and Dunbar Street, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Port Alberni Fire Department deputy Chief Wes Patterson, right, talks to an RCMP member at an incident involving the former Acklands-Grainger building at Third Avenue and Dunbar Street, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

‘Heavy smoke’ turns out to be moisture-laden air venting from Port Alberni building

Fire crews discover cannabis operation inside

Alberni Valley fire crews were called to what turned out to be a non-fire at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21.

The Port Alberni Fire Department initially reported on social media that the department was responding to a structure fire in the 3400 block of Third Avenue, at Dunbar Street.

The building is the former Acklands-Grainger location, which is under new ownership. The call to 911 came in that smoke could be seen from the roof. While it appears to be empty, there are people using the building, Port Alberni Fire Department deputy Chief Wes Patterson said.

“On arrival we had what appeared to be smoke (coming from the roof),” Patterson said. “It smelled like an electrical fire. Some crews initially checked the roof out, realized it appeared to be coming from inside. They made entry, found out that the building is in use and that it was a venting issue,” he said.

“There was a lot of moisture coming out with it.” The temperature at the time was 1 degree Celsius.

The aroma of cannabis could be detected around the building. Patterson said federal paperwork was produced to fire officials. Port Alberni RCMP Sgt. Peter Dionne said the next day the operation was legal under the federal Canadian Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations. Health Canada does not require licence holders to notify police of their operations, Dionne added.

Power and natural gas to the building were both cut off so crews could investigate.

“Because it is a large industrial building and it appeared to be heavy smoke coming from the building, we did initiate an automatic mutual aid,” he said. Fire crews from Port Alberni, volunteer fire departments from Sproat Lake, Beaver Creek and Cherry Creek all responded, as well as an ambulance and RCMP.

“Thankfully, it turned out it was excess moisture being removed from the building,” he said. “The building’s OK.”

No one was hurt in the incident, although there were two people working inside the building at the time. “There were two occupants in the building at the time but they were in a far corner and didn’t come out until they started hearing us making entry.”



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Port Alberni

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Fire crews respond to a fire at Third Avenue and Dunbar Street in Port Alberni on Thursday, Jan. 21. (SUSAN QUINN / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Fire crews respond to a fire at Third Avenue and Dunbar Street in Port Alberni on Thursday, Jan. 21. (SUSAN QUINN / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Port Alberni Fire Department deputy Chief Wes Patterson, right, and Sproat Lake Deputy Fire Chief Derrick Cyr discuss the situation at the former Acklands-Grainger building at Third Avenue and Dunbar Street, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. No fire was detected in the building. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Port Alberni Fire Department deputy Chief Wes Patterson, right, and Sproat Lake Deputy Fire Chief Derrick Cyr discuss the situation at the former Acklands-Grainger building at Third Avenue and Dunbar Street, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. No fire was detected in the building. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Just Posted

Cowichan Valley writer Jennifer Manuel will headlining YakFest on March 1. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Cowichan Valley writer to headline next YakFest on March 1

YakFest is a B.C.-based monthly women’s event held online via Zoom

The North Island College campus in Port Alberni is located on Roger Street. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
North Island College plans tourism networking event

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on Vancouver Island’s tourism industry

Members of Alberni Valley Rescue Squad were at the Alberni Valley Regional Airport on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020 to practice helicopter hover exit training with Ascent Helicopters out of Parksville. When executing a search in difficult terrain, it isn’t always possible to land a helicopter, so volunteer searchers must be certified in hover exits. (BILL MCLEOD/ Special to the AV News)
Alberni Valley Rescue Society receives much-needed $40K gaming grant

Bamfield volunteer fire department also funded

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

The current exhibit at the Rollin Art Centre features paintings from the Community Arts Council’s permanent collection. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
ARTS AROUND: Last chance to join Alberni Valley artist guide

The guide will include local artists and a map

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

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

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

Most Read