Prince Rupert Fire Rescue attended a fire in the 818 block of Third Ave. on Dec. 7 just before 6 p.m. The fire which started in the Prince Rupert Unemployed Action Center (PRUEAC) then caused a secondary fire in the adjacent restaurant of P&P’s Steak and Pasta.
“Crews were dispatched the 800 block of Third Avenue West for reported smoke inside a commercial occupancy,” Chad Cooper deputy fire chief said.
Upon arrival fire crews found fire coming from the backside of the structure on the outside, he said. While the fire was quickly contained in the PRUEAC office, it is believed electrical current running through metal roof components caused the second fire.
“We think the charge transferred through both businesses as they were connected, which started the secondary fire on the front of the restaurant,” Cooper said.
“Crews did a great job of quickly containing the fire and limiting fire damage,” Cooper said.
“There was small water damage and we had to expose a couple of walls to make sure that the fire was out in the void spaces. With these older buildings once the fire gets inside it is very difficult to find where it is going.”
Fire rescue crews were supported by Prince Rupert RCMP and BC ambulance at the incident across from Save On Foods grocery store. No injuries were reported and BC Hydro has disconnected power to the two buildings.
That wasn’t the only fire crews attend on the 7th. Much earlier, at around 3 a.m. crews were called to a single-vehicle fire behind the Lester Centre in the parking lot.
“The investigation is ongoing with that fire. It is with the RCMP,” Cooper said.
Cooper told The Northern View he wants to ‘get it out there” that there is no firebug.
“I have seen lots on social media about the fact there have been quite a few fires in Prince Rupert lately,” Cooper said. “Some people have commented that there may be a fire-bug in town. I can assure the resident there is not a firebug in town and all of these incidents are unrelated.”
“We’ve been quiet since (Nov.9). In the fire service, we call it feast or famine. Sometimes you can go months and months without a fire and all of a sudden they come in one grouping. People then think there is an arsonist. There is not one,” the deputy chief said.
Cooper said with the winter and Christmas season upon us it is important to be diligent with fire safety.
“It is the perfect time to remind everyone to check their smoke alarms, know how to get hold of 911 quickly, and to practice their home escape plans,” he said.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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