One person is dead after a house fire on Ian Avenue in Port Alberni.
The Port Alberni Fire Department was called to a structure fire in the 4800 block of Ian Avenue just after midnight on Monday, Feb. 28.
“When we arrived on scene we had heavy fire showing from the front of the structure and reports that there was a man down in the backyard,” said PAFD Chief Mike Owens.
The PAFD learned that a tenant living on the upstairs floor of the building had been alerted to the fire downstairs and, with the help of some bystanders, was able to extricate the man who had been living on the ground floor of the building.
The person who had been on the ground floor, a man in his 60s, died despite resuscitation attempts by first responders.
The upstairs tenant was assessed by BC Ambulance, but didn’t need to be taken to the hospital.
Volunteer fire departments from Beaver Creek, Cherry Creek and Sproat Lake assisted in knocking down the fire. The fire was put out in around 10 minutes, but overhaul continued for a few hours afterwards.
“The suppression of the fire went reasonably well,” said Owens. “But our hearts are with the tragic outcome for the individual.”
Owens praised the actions of both the upstairs tenant and the passersby who assisted him.
“They were willing to jump in and put themselves at risk to pull this gentleman out,” he said.
Owens said the fire started on the ground floor, but both floors of the structure have sustained “extensive” fire damage. At this point, investigators are not sure what caused the fire, but Owens said it does not appear to be suspicious. The BC Coroners Service is investigating the death.
The last fire fatality in Port Alberni took place more than five years ago, said Owens.