A workshop near Port Alberni was destroyed by fire on Saturday night (Feb. 27), but crews from all four Alberni Valley fire departments were able to contain the spread of the fire and protect nearby structures.
The call came in to the Cherry Creek Volunteer Fire Department at 9:30 p.m., said Cherry Creek Fire Chief Lucas Banton. By the time firefighters arrived on scene in the 6000 block of Renton Road, a more than 1,000-square-foot shop was already fully engulfed by flames.
“The roof had already collapsed,” said Banton. “There were a number of exposures around the shop we were trying to protect.”
Crews from the Port Alberni Fire Department, Beaver Creek Volunteer Fire Department and Sproat Lake Volunteer Fire Department also responded. Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the shop, protecting two nearby RVs and a house from damage. No one was injured in the blaze.
Banton described it as a “stubborn” fire, as crews remained on scene until around 4:30 a.m. to put it out. Cleanup continued into Sunday afternoon.
“Because of the way it collapsed, we couldn’t get water on the debris underneath,” said Banton. “It took a long time to put out. It was a very long night.”
Banton says the cause of the fire is unknown, and determining a cause will be difficult because of the amount of damage.
“It was a well-established fire by the time it was discovered,” he explained. “Shops have a lot of flammable materials and things that can combust, so it’s difficult to determine what could have caused it.”
The fire on Renton Road was the second structure fire in the Alberni Valley on Saturday night. The Port Alberni Fire Department also put out a fire in the 2200 block of Anderson Avenue earlier in the evening.