A fire at the Rusty Anchor Inn Saturday night (Nov. 26) damaged one room and left several tenants homeless for the evening.
The Port Alberni Fire Department responded to a call of a fire at the former Somass Hotel on lower Argyle Street at 11:25 p.m. “…with everything we had,” said fire captain Peter Aspinall.
Once there, fire personnel found flames and smoke coming out of a third floor window on the west side of the building facing Kingsway Avenue.
Several tenants of the building were already outside, but firemen evacuated others, one of whom had to be brought through a window and down a fire truck ladder, Aspinall said.
The layout of the building made it difficult initially for personnel to get to the fire. “It was a long way up, then through a corridor and down hall,” he said.
Firemen brought the blaze under control by 11:50 p.m. and crews were still on scene at 2:30 a..m.
There were no injuries or fatalities, Aspinall said.
Firemen scoured each room for anyone who may not have been evacuated but found no one.
Tenants were escorted back into the building to retrieve some of their belongings but had to find other accommodations for the evening.
One tenant who wouldn’t give his name found shelter with others across the street from the hotel in the doorways of the Canvas Cup Coffee Shop and Canada Post.
“There’s about a dozen of us who live there and we all got out, but what a night to have to find somewhere else to stay,” he said of the pouring rain and cold.
A cause has not been determined and the incident is still under investigation, Aspinall said.