A young family escaped injury when their two-storey house on Gallic Road caught fire late Wednesday afternoon (June 12).
Multiple fire departments were able to put out the fire on Tseshaht First Nation land just west of Port Alberni.
Port Alberni Fire Department chief Mike Owens said the department was responding to an alarm call on Mission Road when they received word that smoke was showing from a building on Gallic Road.
“We upgraded our response to a structure fire,” said Owens. “We arrived on scene to find heavy smoke and flames showing from the rear back corner of the building, and crews worked to aggressively attack the fire.”
The parents and children were not at home at the time of the fire, but their family dog and cat were still inside when firefighters arrived. The cat was able to escape the flames when firefighters breached the front door, and firefighters were able to find the dog and return it to the family.
“[It] was quite shaken up, but it was in good shape,” said Owens
Crews ran into some trouble with an inoperable fire hydrant, but were able to establish water supply from a second hydrant in order to make headway on the fire.
Port Alberni’s Engine 4 and Sproat Lake’s Engine 41 were already out and returning from separate medical calls. They were quickly redeployed, which saved some time, according to Owens, and crews were able to put out the fire before it could spread.
“Any time that you have responders that are in the hall or on the road, this is the outcome that you can expect,” he said. “If you have responders that are delayed for whatever reason, then we wouldn’t have the same outcome today.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.