Staff at Westcoast Home Hardware in Port Alberni spent Saturday morning mopping up after a fire burned two storage sheds in a locked compound beside the building.
The 911 call came in at 2:43 a.m. Saturday, and because it was classified as a structure fire, crews from Port Alberni Fire Department, Cherry Creek VFD, Sproat Lake VFD and Beaver Creek VFD all responded, as well as BC Ambulance. “When the first engine arrived on scene there was an outbuilding fully engulfed and flame impingement on the main structure,” PAFD Fire Chief Mike Owens said.
“Crews from PAFD, Cherry Creek and Sproat Lake were able to stop the fire before it penetrated the main structure.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation, he added.
Store owner Jan Lavertu said aside from a faint smell of smoke inside, the store is not affected. Staff opened for business at their usual time Saturday morning.
“Nothing happened inside the store. This was two storage sheds that were outside in the compound that (someone) lit on fire,” Lavertu said. There was “nothing of value” inside the storage sheds, he added. “It was like somebody starting a dumpster on fire.”
There were dozens of pallets behind the storage shed that were blackened by the fire, and a scorch mark can be seen high on the side of the building. Inside the compound melted plastic garbage cans can be seen, and a temporary cover over other items was also melted.
“It was just contained into this area.”