Port Alberni’s new fire chief, Mike Owens, said quick response to a fire on McNaughton Road kept an exterior blaze from reaching the attic, Sunday night (Feb. 10). SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Port Alberni Fire Dept.’s quick response keeps house fire from spreading

New fire chief answers call to three fires in a week

Port Alberni firefighters responded to their third structure fire in a week Sunday night on McNaughton Road. Fire chief Mike Owens credits quick response from the duty crew to keeping the damage to minimal in all three fires.

Crews were called out at approximately 11:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10 to a house whose deck was on fire. An item had been placed on the deck after a spark from the fireplace landed on it, Owens said. The homeowners put it outside thinking it was extinguished.

“Apparently it was smouldering away for a period of time. The homeowner noticed the fire through the window.”

An attempt to put the fire out with a fire extinguisher was unsuccessful; it began to consume the outside of the housse, so the fire department was called out.

“It started to almost enter the attic space, which would have been a much different call had that taken hold,” Owens said.

“It’s another great example of our fire department showing up early and intervening before it became something more. This is our bread and butter; this is why the taxpayers pay for a career fire department, is that we can intervene early and stop it when it’s at this stage so we don’t have the sensational pictures,” he said.

Owens added that this particular fire was an unfortunate accident.

Earlier in the week, crews were able to quickly knock down a cooking fire in a side-by-side duplex on Sixth Avenue, containing the blaze to the unit of origin. One resident was displaced, but not hurt in the fire.

On Feb. 6 a fire started on the exterior of a three-storey apartment building on Seventh Avenue.

Owens said the fire was deemed suspicious because it started outside, and there was nothing near the building that could have accidentally caught fire.

All three fires happened in the first week of Owen’s new job as fire chief. He replaced Kelly Gilday, who was named the ACRD manager of protective services in June.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

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