PARKSVILLE — After fleeing their on-fire apartment building, residents now have to move everything out to make room for repairs.
Thirty-eight people living in 32 units of Ocean Terrace Apartments in Parksville, which burned the night of July 6, have been told they need to clean out their suites while repairs are being done.
Earl Blacklock of the Mount Arrowsmith Salvation Army said now is the time for the community to rally behind the displaced residents.
“We need organizers, we need people to pack, we need people to lift and carry and we need people to drive to storage facilities,” Blacklock said, adding boxes and packing tape are also needed.
He said anyone who can help is asked to show up at Ocean Terrace Apartments, at 240 Island Hwy. West, in the morning before 10 a.m. by Wednesdsay, July 19.
As for housing the displaced, Blacklock said everybody is taken care of temporarily, but some spaces are running out before the end of July.
“We're looking in particular for long-term housing, apartments, even houses that two or three could share...The need is massive.”
Parksville Volunteer Fire Department asst. chief Tyrone Heigh told NanaimoNewsNOW the cause of the high-profile fire was accidental. He said a roofing crew was working earlier in the day on July 6, using blow torches to help layer materials to keep the new roof in place.
“It's as simple as something was overheated or caught a stray spark and that was enough to get it going,” Heigh said.
Heigh noted the petroleum-based products and torches involved, along with the hot weather, combined to cause the fire. However, he credited a quick response by firefighters for limiting the damage.
He said it's unclear how long it will be before Ocean Terrace residents can move back home.
Their investigation is over and the process of fixing the building is in the hands of an insurance company, Heigh said.
-with files from Daryl Major
On Twitter: @reporterholmes