Residents flee blaze in Courtenay apartment building

Residents of an apartment building in Courtenay wound up stranded outside early Saturday after their building caught fire sometime before 5 a.m.

The blaze was contained to one unit on the fourth floor at Pines Apartments at 1055 10th St., thanks in part to the efforts of a pair of tenants who combed the hallways before vacating the premises.

RESIDENTS FLED after a fire started at the Pines Apartments in Courtenay.

RESIDENTS FLED after a fire started at the Pines Apartments in Courtenay.

Residents of an apartment building in Courtenay wound up stranded outside early Saturday after their building caught fire sometime before 5 a.m.

The blaze was contained to one unit on the fourth floor at Pines Apartments at 1055 10th St., thanks in part to the efforts of a pair of tenants who combed the hallways before vacating the premises.

Riel La Boucane and another man checked each floor after hearing the fire alarm. On the fourth floor, La Boucane grabbed an extinguisher when he noticed smoke billowing underneath a door. He and the other tenant entered the suite and saw flames coming from the bedroom.

He opened the door as much as he could and doused the flames he could see, thinking he had extinguished the fire. He then closed the door and continued checking the building to ensure people were outside.

“We have a number of elderly people, some that would have a tough time getting down the stairs,” La Boucane said. “Main concern was making sure people were getting out. While I was getting the flames out there were other people knocking on doors making sure everybody was getting out, because (we) had a sense the fire was going to be more than just a small flame.”

Later, La Boucane returned to the suite that had burned, concerned the female occupant was still inside. When he found the woman outside, she indicated a cigarette caused the fire.

Police, however, said foul play has not been ruled out.

A number of residents were relocated to alternate accommodations due to smoke damage in some of the units.

Bev Muloin, who lives with a roommate in the apartment next door to the one that caught fire, was one of the first people out of the building.

“It’s just an amazing thing that my apartment was still intact,” Muloin said, noting flames were “shooting out” about 10 feet, damaging the roof. “We’re lucky we all got out alive.”

She is thankful a pastor blessed her apartment when she moved in about four years ago.

“It’s just a miracle that I didn’t lose everything that I own. I don’t know how it happened but my apartment was saved,” said Muloin, grateful to businesses that donated clothing during her time of need. She also thanks social services for housing her in a hotel and paying her meals for three days.

A total of 24 firefighters attended the blaze. There were no injuries.

“We had Comox fire department bring their second ladder down to help with the roof work,” Courtenay fire department chief Don Bardonnex said. “Thanks to them and thanks to our crews.”

The fire remains under investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Comox Valley RCMP at (250) 338-1321 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) to remain anonymous.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The CVCDA Accessibility Project is creating safer ramps at the Courtenay facility. Photo supplied
Accessibility project underway at Comox Valley Child Development Association

Over the past month, you may have noticed some construction underway behind… Continue reading

19 Wing Comox’s Wing Auxiliary Security Force (WASF) will be conducting training at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Comox and the Department of National Defence Seal Bay training area from April 12-16. Black Press file photo
19 Wing training set for April at Seal Bay, CFB Comox

Members of the public may see an increase in activity at locations in the Valley

The Union Bay Improvement District is holding its AGM April 29 as it looks to hand over services to the regional district. Record file photo
Union Bay board hikes water rates due to operating costs

Board also planning for AGM, transition to regional district service

A grad clothing donation program, formerly known as the Cinderella/Prince Charming Project, now has a new name. Photo, Comox Valley Schools
Comox Valley grad garment program gets a re-brand

Program aims to give all students opportunity for graduation gown or suit

Town of Comox council (from left) Alex Bissinger, Ken Grant, Nicole Minions, Mayor Russ Arnott, Stephanie McGowan, Maureen Swift and Pat McKenna. Photo by Kim Stallknecht
Comox council sets residential tax rate just below five per cent

The increase is “as good as we can get,” noted Coun. Stephanie McGowan

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s help in identifying the man suspected of being involved in a stabbing. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP trying to identify stabbing suspect who wielded rusty knife

Stabbing followed argument between two men at Port Place Shopping Centre April 1

The inside of the Campbell River Community Centre gymnasium has been marked off in order to facilitate the public flowing through the clinic as they receive their COVID-19 vaccination. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell river Mirror
Leftover vaccines go into arms, not down the drain: Island Health

Immunization plan comes with built-in options for any unused vaccines at the end of the day

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning says the players who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 are recovering and the team still intends to play a 56-game season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks players ‘mostly on the other side’ of COVID outbreak: general manager

The athletes have had a “whole range” of COVID-19 symptoms, said team physician Dr. Jim Bovard, but no one has needed to be hospitalized

Police are investigating after a man was shot Thursday, April 8 while sitting in a car in Vancouver. (Black Press files)
Man shot in Vancouver while sitting in a parked car: police

The victim is currently in critical condition. Police say no arrests have been made.

Most Read