Swimmers got more than they bargained for at Echo Pool tonight (June 9, 2016) when a small fire in the sauna caused an evacuation of the building.
“They did a really good job getting people out,” said Kevin Elsasser, who had been in the hot tub. “One of the guys noticed the sauna was smoking. The lifeguard came in and said to evacuate, and the alarm went off.”
About two dozen swimmers were given towels on their way out the 10th Avenue exit.
“They did really well, very organized,” said Willie Hart. Both Elsasser and Hart were visiting Port Alberni as part of Exercise Coastal Response; they serve with the Salvation Army community response teams in Courtenay and Campbell River, respectively.
Port Alberni Fire Department acting captain Ian Ritchie said there was no visible fire when crews arrived at the Wallace Street pool. “When we went in there was nothing, but there was a lot of steam in the sauna. What I suspect is someone threw water on the unit.”
The sauna is electric, and water could have shorted it out, Ritchie said. Power was cut to the unit until maintenance personnel can look at it in the morning.