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Pair escapes explosion as fire strikes house in Port Alberni’s arts district

Two occupants escape injury in ‘intense’ fire on Eighth Avenue
Port Alberni firefighter Ben Halychuk hoses down the front door of a home on Eighth Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Two occupants escaped injury after an explosion and intense fire in their Eighth Avenue home, Monday afternoon (July 11) in Port Alberni.

Port Alberni Fire Department received several 911 calls about an explosion and structure fire in the 3000-block of Eighth Avenue just after 3 p.m., PAFD Fire Chief Mike Owens said. The two-storey house is located just across the street from Eighth Avenue Learning Centre.

“When our crews arrived there was heavy smoke showing from the building.”

Two occupants that were in the building at the time managed to get out on their own, he said. They were assessed by BCAS paramedics but did not need to be transported to hospital.

Every firetruck available at the PAFD hall responded to the fire. “There was such a heavy volume of fire when we arrived it made it difficult,” Owens said. “There was another home that was pretty close by to the house that had the fire. There was some initial concern about that exposure but crews worked hard to ensure damage was confined to the structure of origin.”

Eighth Avenue between Argyle Street and China Creek was closed as crews dealt with the structure fire. By 4:30 p.m. they were mopping up and watching for hot spots, Owens said. The fire investigator was already on scene, but Owens said it was too early to determine what started the fire.

One crew was called away from the Eighth Avenue fire briefly to respond to a call about smoke in the area of Burde Street and 16th Avenue. Firefighters eventually found two people with a small cooking fire in the gully behind 12th Avenue and North Park Drive. The people promised to put the fire completely out when they were done cooking.

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Ben Halychuk of the Port Alberni Fire Department hoses down the front door of a structure on Eighth Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Susie Quinn

About the Author: Susie Quinn

A journalist since 1987, I proudly serve as the Alberni Valley News editor.
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