Fire crews respond to reports of a fire at the Beaufort Hotel on Angus Street and Fourth Avenue on Sunday, June 27, 2021. A small fire in a stairwell caused evacuation of the building. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Fire in stairwell forces evacuation of residential hotel in Port Alberni

Residents will be able to return to units today

A small fire in the stairwell of a building in uptown Port Alberni forced the evacuation of more than a dozen people on Sunday morning (June 27, 2021).

Crews from Port Alberni, Cherry Creek, Beaver Creek and Sproat Lake responded to a call of a structure fire at the Beaufort Hotel on Angus Street and Fourth Avenue shortly before 9 a.m. “There was nothing showing outside the building,” deputy fire chief Wes Patterson said. “There was heavy smoke coming from the base of a stairwell, so crews made entry, contained the fire and extinguished it.”

The two-storey building was evacuated and crews searched both floors and the basement to make sure all 21 of the occupants were out and safe.

“I was just waking up and smelled smoke,” said one young woman, who didn’t want to give her name. She and several other residents from the building were sitting in the shade in front of the Port Alberni Courthouse while fire crews dealt with remaining smoke in the building.

“I figured someone’s bed was on fire. My uncle is the manager here and he was banging on the door saying ‘niece, there’s a fire, you’ve got to get out.’”

Patterson said there didn’t appear to be any damage to any of the units, and crews were busy ventilating the building to get rid of the smoke. “Everybody should be able to get back into their units.”

One person was treated for minor smoke inhalation, but no other injuries were reported. Patterson said the cause of the fire had yet to be determined.

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