Old Hupacasath Hall Fire caused by sawdust

By Denise Titian, June 2, 2017

A fire damaged the old Hupacasath Hall on May 26. (Denise Titian photo)

Port Alberni — 

The fire that damaged the second floor of the Hupacasath Hall on River Road May 26 started in sawdust on the floor ignited by high temperatures recorded in the Alberni Valley that day.

Hupacasath Communications Coordinator Jolleen Dick confirmed that the cause of the fire was accidental and that nobody was in the building when the fire started.

The hall was built in the mid 1970’s and for many years was rented to Uchucklesaht First Nation. According to Dick, they moved out in Oct. 2016 when their new building was ready for occupancy.

Since that time the space was rented to a carver and the bottom floor was used as storage for Hupacasath First Nation.

According to Dick, the damage upstairs is not significant and repairs will be made. The cost of repairs remains unknown.

However, the nation will have to purchase new seasonal decorations that were ruined. “We had just moved our Halloween and Christmas decorations to the basement and they were all damaged so we will have to buy new decorations,” she told Ha-Shilth-Sa.

“We are grateful to the City of Port Alberni, the Port Alberni, Sproat Lake and Beaver Creek fire departments and the RCMP who all responded; we’re just glad that there was nobody in the building,” said Dick.