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100 people displaced from Campbell River 55-plus apartment building after early-morning fire

Firefighters called to three-storey 55-plus apartment building just before 2:30 a.m.
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An early morning fire at an Erickson Road apartment building in Campbell River has displaced about 100 residents. KENT BURKITT VIA CHEK NEWS

Around 100 people are displaced after an early morning fire heavily damaged the roof of a three-storey Campbell River apartment building.

The City of Campbell River said fire crews were called to 155 Erickson Rd. shortly before 2:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Campbell River is asking the public to continue to stay away from the area and to follow directions from emergency services personnel and security who are on site.

“Thank you to the emergency responders, RCMP, B.C. Emergency Health Services, B.C. Transit, Baptist Church, Passage View Motel, ESS volunteers, and the local taxi companies who supported this response,” the city said in a statement.

Clark Banks, a resident of the 55-plus apartment building, said he was woken up by his wife who had heard the fire alarm go off. “I got up, I looked at my bedroom door window, and all I could see was fire.”

Everyone was able to evacuate safely, he said, despite the advanced age of some residents.

“The average age in that building has got to be 70,” said Banks, who is 80 years old. “Some of them are in their 90s — they all got out, no problem.”

Video of the aftermath from CHEK News shows substantial damage to the roof and the third floor of the 63-unit building.

Investigators are searching for what caused the fire.

Banks said the fire originated in his next door neighbour’s third-floor unit and spread out into the rest of the structure. “Once it got into the roof, it was open season on the poor condo block.”

He said he is not allowed to return to his apartment due to the roof damage and has been offered three days of hotel stay by the province.

On Saturday, the Strathcona Regional District Emergency Support Services set up a temporary reception centre at the Campbell River Baptist Church.

The city said evacuated residents can receive support and information on next steps by calling 250-203-1972 or going to the Campbell River city website.

mjlo@timescolonist.com

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