Fire damaged a shuttered sawmill in Port Alberni Saturday afternoon, and investigators believe the incident is suspicious.
The Port Alberni Fire Department was called to the Somass Sawmill on Harbour Road around 5:30 p.m. Saturday for a report of a fire.
Crews from the Beaver Creek, Cherry Creek and Sproat Lake fire departments were also called in to help put out the flames.
When they arrived, there was heavy smoke “showing from one of the larger buildings at the mill,” the fire department tells CHEK News. No one was on scene, and no injuries were reported.
Crews put out the fire and left the scene around 9:15 p.m.
Videos sent to CHEK News and posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, by Port Alberni Fire show a large amount of smoke wafting from the mill.
While it’s too early to determine the cause, RCMP are assisting the fire department in its investigation and are “treating it as suspicious,” a fire official says.
Contractors from the city are also monitoring the site.
The Somass site, owned by the City of Port Alberni, is a 16-hectare property near downtown. It hasn’t operated since 2017.
PAFD, @BeaverCreekVFD, @ccvfd5920 & @slvfd_ca are on the scene of a structure fire on Harbour Road. Please give way to inbound emergency vehicles. #structurefire #portalberni pic.twitter.com/HnfTQkZA0C
— Port Alberni Fire (@portalbernifire) October 15, 2023