The cause of an early morning Labour Day house fire that gutted a home and significantly damaged multiple outbuildings at Sixth Avenue and Montrose Street is still undetermined, according to Port Alberni Fire Department Chief Tim Pley.
Potential criminal activity has not yet been ruled out, Pley added.
Speaking while fire crews were on scene at 3:45 a.m., Pley said that it looked like the fire had started in the oubuildings and then spread to the house.
“It started outside the building by the looks of it, in the shed and spread to the main house,” said Pley.
“There’s significant damage to the house, outbuildings and neighbour’s outbuildings,” said Pley. The blaze was called in by a passerby at 2:44 a.m.
The fire was deemed severe enough to trigger an automatic mutual aid response from the Sproat Lake and Beaver Creek volunteer fire departments. A truck each from each came to support the three PAFD trucks on scene.
“The people inside woke up to the fire outside the window and smoke in the house,” Pley said.
Two elderly occupants and their dog got out safely and stayed with a neighbour overnight, Pley added. The house was insured.
The fire spread into the attic and fire crews were pushed out of the building, said Pley, only able to re-enter when the roof was off.
“It relieves the pressure, gives the fire and smoke a place to go,” Pley said.