A fire at an abandoned tire recycling plant 10 kilometres west of Port Alberni was a jurisdictional quagmire, Port Alberni Fire Chief Tim Pley said.
His fire personnel responded to calls of a fire at the plant at approximately 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Pley said. They linked up with Sproat Lake fire department personnel who also responded.
The initial fire was doused by employees of the Port Alberni landfill, who spotted it from their facility which sits adjacent to the plant.
Firemen donned masks and oxygen tanks and mopped up the fire’s smoldering remains, Pley said.
The fire at the remote plant was unusual, Pley said. It looked like it was deliberately set but there wasn’t enough fuel for it to burn the building down or to set fire to the tire piles outside, Pley said.
The department doesn’t have the authority to investigate fires outside the city boundary. The police take the lead instead.
The plant sits on Crown land and isn’t in the city’s or Alberni Clayoquot Regional District boundaries. Responding to such fires is the responsibility of provincial fire service personnel. The Thunderbird Unit Crew responded to Thursday’s incident but lack the equipment to fight a structure fire.
The Port Alberni fire department has recently hatched an agreement with the province that sees them assist when needed, Pley said.
The circumstances around fighting the fire left Pley troubled.“Building’s like these shouldn’t be built in areas where there’s no infrastructure or services because this is what can happen,” Pley said.
There was evidence at the scene that a large party had taken place at the plant recently.