PARKSVILLE — With the flames now extinguished, efforts are turning to housing residents who lost their homes in a major apartment building fire Thursday night in Parksville.
Fire chief Marc Norris said approximately 40 people were forced out by the blaze which exploded through the roof of the Ocean Terrace Apartments and it could be some time until they can return.
“In order to get the building back up to where it needs to be, I’m estimating it’s going to be many weeks, if not months before it’s occupy-able,”he told Island Radio.
Norris said the challenge is now finding places to stay for so many people, noting Parksville’s extremely low vacancy rate. The regional emergency management group for the Oceanside area is hard at work trying to find both short and long-term accommodations and necessities for everyone without a home.
The Salvation Army is coordinating donations. Any donations are to be written out to the Salvation Army and designated for the “Ocean Terrace Fire Victims,” while items for the displaced tenants can be dropped off at the Salvation Army thrift store or warehouse.
If anyone has space to lodge someone, they’re also urged to talk to the Salvation Army.
An effort this size is unusual for Parksville firefighters. Norris said the last major fire, to his recollection, was when the Cypress Gardens apartment building caught fire in the late 90’s.
Fire crews were on the scene until 3 a.m. Friday morning, with the follow-up investigation likely beginning on Monday, July 10.
Norris said roof work being done at Ocean Terrace on Thursday before the fire is being investigated, but couldn’t say what role it may have played in the blaze.