A man was forced to jump overboard after an explosion aboard his 35ft boat in Alberni Harbor on Sunday afternoon, September 18.
Monica Ahlroos was sitting on a bench at Harbor Quay watching the water when the ship caught fire. “I was shocked to see the black smoke first and then the flames,” she said. “Then I saw the fire boat and two other boats.”
The Port Alberni Fire Department received multiple 911 calls about the ship’s fire, which was visible from shore, Deputy Fire Chief Wes Patterson said. The call came in at 2.37pm about the aluminum workboat and two firefighters arrived at the water’s edge and jumped aboard the Harbor Chieftain, using the fireboat to respond to the blaze.
“The person who was on the boat had to jump in the water because of the fire,” PAFD chief Mike Owens said. A patient was transported by an unidentified vessel to Centennial Pier, where a British Columbia ambulance was waiting. Patterson had no information about the person’s condition or what caused the explosion and fire on the ship.
The Canadian Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy search and rescue boat were both called, along with the Port Alberni Harbor Authority and the Department of the Environment, in the event of a spill from the vessel, Patterson said. .
“When we arrived, the boat was towed. She is on Holm Island at the moment and there is no fear that she is sinking at the moment,” Patterson said, adding that the shipowner is handling her rescue.
Alberni ValleyfirePort Alberni