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Woman taken to hospital after motel fire Sunday at Knights Inn

Provincial government leased downtown residence to provide temporary shelter for homeless people; motel also being used to isolate COVID patients

A morning fire Sunday in a downtown motel resulted in a woman being taken to hospital suffering from what appeared to be smoke inhalation.

The fire broke out at about 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Knights Inn, 650 Dominion St. Support workers from AWAC (Association Advocating for Women and Community) were on the scene and knocked on the door of Unit 113, where the woman was staying, and helped her escape the burning suite.

The woman told nurses on the scene she was the sole occupant of the suite that was on fire.

Prince George Fire Rescue firefighters, who were only a few blocks away mopping up at the scene of a large structure fire earlier Sunday on Brunswick Street, and although the suite was fully involved with fire they were able to extinguish the flames quickly before the it could spread to adjacent suites.

The motel building is worth an estimated $1.1 million and damage is estimated at $100,000.

Brian Beach was several doors down in his suite at Unit 105 when the fire broke out.

"I was just watching TV and the lady came banging on the door and said there was a fire so I got up and gathered all my things that I had ready to go anyway," said Beach.  "I'm glad that lady warned us well in advance, I didn't hear a fire alarms. It's nice that they are watching. As soon as I came out I could smell the smoke." 

The fire alarms were working and the smoke did activate them.

The 44-unit motel has been leased by the provincial government to provide supportive housing for people living outdoors or in emergency shelters and is being operated by staff from the Prince George Native Friendship Centre. It is also provides temporary housing for COVID-19 patients or people who have been exposed to the virus to allow them to self-isolate.

Emergency personnel on the scene took extra precautions by wearing personal protection equipment. Firefighters wore breathing apparatus, gloves and face shields while they provided first aid to the injured woman as she lay in the parking lot awaiting the ambulance.

“We wore our PPE, they gear up when they’re treating patients and they’re appropriately prepared when they go into a fire,” said PGFR deputy chief Cliff Warner. “We brought the guys that were working today so we have just about everybody going now. We rally and adapt and deal with them as they come up.

“We’re just working on some residual smoke so hopefully that’s it.”

There were no other injuries. Fire damage was limited to one suite but the blaze caused smoke damage to several adjoining suites.

The motel is located across the street from the city's new downtown pool still under construction.