Fire consumes a unit at Dogwood Apartments on Eighth Avenue and Dogwood Street in Port Alberni on June 28, 2020. Six people escaped from the building, which broke out in the early hours of Sunday morning. (TOM PARKINSON/Special to AV News)

Six people escape as fire consumes residence in Port Alberni complex

Dogwood Street unit sustains heavy damage, four families displaced after blaze

Six people were uninjured after a housing unit they were staying in burst into flames in the early-morning hours of Sunday, June 28, 2020.

Port Alberni Fire Department received a 911 call at approximately 6:50 a.m. about the fire. Trucks from PAFD, Cherry Creek, Beaver Creek and Sproat Lake volunteer fire departments all arrived on scene and started attacking the fire from the outside.

“On arrival, heavy flame and smoke were coming from the second unit,” PAFD deputy chief Wes Patterson said. “Crews did a transitional attack, which means they started fighting the fire from the outside, made sure there were no occupants in the building, searched the units they could and transitioned to an interior attack to extinguish the fire.”

BC Hydro was quickly on scene to turn power off to the six units on that side of the complex, which allowed firefighters to gain entry, he said. BC Ambulance and RCMP also responded to the blaze.

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“Fire damage is contained to the unit of origin, both floors. There is smoke damage and water damage to the units on either side,” Patterson said.

One of the occupants, a woman and her young son, had been visiting a friend at the unit when the fire broke out, and confirmed everyone made it out safely. Patterson said there were no injuries reported.

The fire could be seen from blocks away. “At first there was quite a column of smoke that could be seen…from the Quality Foods area,” Patterson said.

This is not the first fire for that block of residences: a unit beside the one heavily damaged on Sunday also burned and was restored.

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Fire breaks through a window in a unit at the Dogwood Apartments on Eighth Avenue and Dogwood Street in Port Alberni, the morning of June 28, 2020. Six people escaped injury in the fire. (TOM PARKINSON/ Special to AV News)

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