The electrical charging cord was the cause of the fire that broke out in an apartment building on Second and Melrose a little before midnight on Thrusday, April 16.
“We investigated today with the RCMP and we determined it was caused by an electrical cord used to charge the scooter,” said Port Alberni Fire Department Chief Tim Pley., adding that “it appears to be accidental.”
Two units suffered extensive fire damage and rest of the building suffered water and smoke damage.
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The fire, which started in a second floor unit at the middle of the north side of the building, spread up to the attic due to a lack of fire break. From there, flames spread along the length of the roof.
“It’s heavily damaged. The suite of origin is effectively destroyed. The roof is gone off at least half the building, possibly all of the building,” said Pley. “There’ll be water damage on both floors and smoke damage as well.”
Pley said that an adjuster was appointed today to determine the fate of the building.
Residents evacuated from the burnt apartment building are at the Hospitality Inn for the first three nights.
“Government initiatives are looking at what they can do for housing after the initial three days,” Pley said.
Many of the apartment residents had no insurances, Pley said.
The Port Alberni Shelter Society has started an initiative to help the victims of the fire replace what they’ve lost, society executive director Wes Hewitt said.
“These people have lost everything,” said Hewitt
“The important things are a bed, sheets, pillowcases, blankets, towels, dishes, pots and pans… they’re starting from scratch and re-setting up a house,” Hewitt explained.
“If you were somebody young and it was your first house and you were moving, that’s exactly what these people need,” Hewitt said.
To coordinate donations and get the necessary items to each person, the shelter is asking people to phone rather than just drop items off at the shelter.
For more information about what’s necessary and to find out where to deliver the items, call 778-421-0076 weekdays between 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. On weekends and during daylight hours after 4 p.m., call Cindy at 250-731-7623.