Emergency responders on scene at an apartment fire on Port Alberni’s Gertrude Street. Susie Quinn/Alberni Valley News

Residents displaced after Port Alberni apartment fire

One unit receives ‘extensive’ damage, two cats perish, fire chief said

A midday fire in a multi-unit apartment in Port Alberni has displaced several residents leading up to the Christmas break.

Port Alberni Fire Department received a call shortly after noon on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021 that a ground floor unit at Creekside Apartments in the 5200-block of Gertrude Street was on fire.

Multiple crews from Port Alberni FD as well as volunteer fire departments in Beaver Creek, Cherry Creek and Sproat Lake responded. BC Ambulance sent two ambulances and BC Hydro was quickly on scene to cut power to the two-storey structure.

“When we arrived on scene there was heavy smoke and fire issuing from a suite on the ground floor,” PAFD Chief Mike Owens said. “It was also starting to extend and melting off some of the siding on the second floor.”

Crews entered the ground floor unit and quickly knocked down the blaze before the fire itself could spread to other units, he said. “However there was extensive smoke damage to other units and the unit of origin did have significant fire damage.”

One individual was in the unit where the fire started. Multiple other individuals were evacuated from the five other suites within the building. Emergency Social Services were also dispatched to assist those displaced by smoke and fire damage.

There were no injuries to people, however, two cats died as a result of the fire. A third cat was rescued from the building. “Firefighters were able to use a pet oxygen device that we have and we were able to revive that cat. That cat is now in the care of its owner and the SPCA. We’re working to give that cat some veterinary assistance.”

While fire investigators were just starting to determine how the blaze started, Owens said there was nothing to indicate it was suspicious in nature. Preliminary reports were that it started accidently.

Gertrude Street between Glenside Drive and Compton Road was closed for an hour as crews worked on the fire.


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