No cause yet in Alberni apartment fire

Port Alberni's fire department still hasn't determined what set off a fire in an eight-unit complex on Fourth Avenue.

A cause still hasn’t been determined in a fire that gutted part of an apartment on Fourth Avenue between Burde and Bute streets last Friday.

Port Alberni deputy fire chief Chris Jancowski said the fire started in one of the upstairs suites.

The fire was reported at about 9 a.m. and started on the second floor of the eight-unit complex. Beaver Creek and Sproat Lake firefighters also responded to help the Port Alberni crew put out the fire. A second complex beside it was unaffected.

“We put the fire out in probably less than 30 minutes,” Jancowski said. “The crew stayed on for a couple of hours to open up walls and to ventilate the building of smoke.”

The entire building is uninhabitable because of the fire and water damage, he said.

Building owner Paul Saroya, who is based in Nanaimo, said there were at least seven people living in the building and he has offered empty suites in the neighbouring building to the affected tenants.

“A few are moving into that unit,” Saroya said. “The plan is I’m going to start fixing up stuff.”

Saroya said he was glad to hear that no one was hurt in the fire and was surprised when he got the call that his building was burning.

“It was devastating,” Saroya explained. “My manager called me and other friends called after. I was shocked that it happened.”

The Kuu-us Crisis Society is accepting donations for the victims of the fire. Furniture, household items, clothing and bedding can be dropped off at 4589 Adelaide St., Mondays to Fridays between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com