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Suspicious fire started on former Somass sawmill site

Port Alberni Fire Department extinguishes fire started on rubbish pile
The Port Alberni Fire Department and RCMP respond to a fire at the former Somass sawmill site on Thursday, April 13, 2023. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

A small fire on the site of the former Somass Sawmill in Port Alberni is currently being investigated as suspicious.

The Port Alberni Fire Department was called to a report of a fire on the sawmill site at 8:52 a.m. on Thursday, April 13. Deputy fire chief Wes Patterson said the fire had started on some rubbish on the mezzanine floor of an open-air building.

The fire was “small in nature” and self-contained, said Patterson, so it was extinguished shortly after arrival of the fire department. There were no injuries, but Patterson said the RCMP had to be called out to the scene to investigate.

“It is considered suspicious at this point,” he said.

This is not the first suspicious fire that has been started in the downtown area in recent weeks. Just last month, a woman was arrested in Port Alberni after multiple suspicious fires were started near the train tracks.

READ MORE: Woman arrested after series of suspicious grass fires in Port Alberni

The Somass sawmill site was purchased by the City of Port Alberni back in 2021. The city recently launched a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process for developers interested in redeveloping the 43-acre waterfront property where the Somass division sawmill used to operate.

READ MORE: City of Port Alberni buys Somass Sawmill lands for $5.3 million

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Elena Rardon

About the Author: Elena Rardon

I have worked with the Alberni Valley News since 2016.
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