A trailer with fire damage is taped off by the Port Alberni Fire Department at the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

A trailer with fire damage is taped off by the Port Alberni Fire Department at the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Fire knocked down at controversial Port Alberni property

City is concerned about zoning, building code and fire code infractions surrounding the trailers

No one was seriously injured after a trailer caught fire at a problem property in Port Alberni, but Port Alberni’s fire chief says the outcome could have been much worse.

The Port Alberni Fire Department responded to a report of a trailer on fire at the Wintergreen Apartments in the 3600-block of Fourth Avenue just before 5 a.m. on Monday, April 12.

“Our duty crew responded, and when they arrived they found heavy smoke issuing from one of the trailers,” said Fire Chief Mike Owens.

The crew was able to knock the fire down, confining it to one trailer. A search of the trailer found nobody inside, although one person who is believed to have been a tenant of the trailer had to be treated by BC Ambulance Service.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, said Owens.

The Wintergreen Apartments have been a cause for concern for the City of Port Alberni for months. The property, which is located across from the bottle depot on Fourth Avenue, is home to a number of trailers. Property owner Randy Brown began moving trailers behind the apartment complex back in November 2020, offering shelter for the city’s homeless population.

However, the city is concerned about numerous zoning, building code and fire code infractions surrounding the trailers. The trailers are tied into the apartment’s sewer system and extension cords run from each trailer into the building.

Back in February, a report from the fire department to city council noted that the property has a number of “electrical hazards” and the trailers affect access and egress for emergency personnel.

Owens said the trailer that caught fire has “immediate access” to the alleyway behind Fourth Avenue, so the department was able to access it quickly.

“The fire could have very rapidly spread to the other trailers,” said Owens. “We were very fortunate that our crew was able to get there quickly and knock it down quickly.”

Owens emphasized on Monday that the present condition of the property and trailers is not safe for either the residents or for first responders.

“It’s clear to me that the trailers are not a permanent solution [for homelessness],” he said. “The concern about a fire is not a hypothetical one anymore. It certainly could have been a lot worse.”



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

firePORT ALBERNI

Just Posted

A forest of dance-protesters outside the BC Legislature on April 11. These participants were doing the Dance for the Ancient Forest in support of the Fairy Creek blockade and against old-growth logging. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
Arrests begin at Fairy Creek blockade on Vancouver Island

Five protesters arrested as RCMP begin to enforce injunction

Ryan Cootes, Erin Bremner-Mitchell, Bill Collins and Mike Williamson of Cascadia Seaweed Corporation are here seen holding up seaweed grown in Barkley Sound in July 2020. The Sidney-based company has organized the inaugural Seaweed Days Festival running May 17 to May 23. (Cascadia Seaweed Corporation/Submitted)
Let’s hear it for seaweed: slimy, unsexy and the world’s greatest untapped food source

Experts talks emerging industry’s challenges and potential at Sidney inaugural Seawood Days Festival

A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)
Litter woes continue at ‘Locks of Love’ fence near Tofino-Ucluelet

Popular Highway 4 spot continues to be consumed by disrespect

Brenda and Steve Smith with a photo of Derek Descoteau. It’s been five years since Derek was murdered in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Friends provide continuing comfort for family in wake of unresolved Chemainus murder

Case remains before the courts five years after Derek Descoteau’s abrupt stabbing death in Chemainus

Saanich police are asking for the public’s help locating missing woman Christina Olsen, 41, who was last seen on May 15 in the 4500-block of Blenkinsop Road. (Photo via the Saanich Police Department)
MISSING: Police seek woman last seen at Saanich mental health facility

Christina Olsen, 41, left Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility on May 15

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

A thunderstorm pictured in Fraser Valley in 2021. (Black Press Media/Jaimie Grafstrom)
Wildfire concerns sparked after 320+ lightning strikes blasted B.C. yesterday

Approximately one-quarter of the province is currently listed as being at moderate risk of fire

A restaurant server on White Rock’s Marine Drive serves customers on a roadside patio. Indoor dining and recreational travel bans have been in effect since late March in B.C. (Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate falls to 411 cases Tuesday

360 people in hospital, up slightly, two more deaths

The Banff National Park entrance is shown in Banff, Alta., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Minister asks Canadians to camp carefully in national parks as season starts

Kitchen shelters in Banff National Park closed, trails on Vancouver Island will only be one-way

Names of those aboard the ship are seen at Komagata Maru monument in downtown Vancouver, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The City of Vancouver has issued an apology for its racist role in denying entry to 376 passengers aboard a ship that was forced to return to India over a century ago. Mayor Kennedy Stewart says discrimination by the city had “cruel effects” on the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims aboard the Komagata Maru, which arrived in Burrard Inlet on May 23, 1914. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says sorry for city’s role in turning away South Asians in 1914

Kennedy Stewart has declared May 23 as the annual Komagata Maru Day of Remembrance

Announced Tuesday, May 18 by Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, the province added gyms, dance and fitness studios to its list of places where face coverings are mandatory. (AP/Steven Senne)
Masks now required at all times inside B.C. gyms, including during workouts

Those who disobey could be subject to a $230 fine

Over the years, police have worked with sketch artists to draw what the boys could have looked like at the times of their deaths. (Vancouver Police Department)
DNA breakthrough expected in cold case involving murdered Vancouver boys, 7 and 8

Forensic analysts are working to identify relatives of the children, whose bodies were found in Stanley Park in 1953

Livestock competitions have been part of the Pacific National Exhibiton for more than a century. (Maple Ridge News files)
B.C. provides $50 million to keep major tourist attractions going

Tour bus companies also eligible for latest COVID-19 aid

Fire investigators employ an aerial ladder truck to do an overhead inspection of fire damage to the Family Practice Clinic that was destroyed by a blaze on the weekend. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Fire destroys Nanaimo medical clinic, doctors will try to keep helping patients

Investigators trying to determine cause of blaze at building on 104th Street

Most Read