A Qualicum Beach man died Friday afternoon after a fire broke out in his business in downtown Qualicum Beach.
The B.C. Coroners Service confirmed Tuesday the man was Patrick George Ziebart, aged 67, of Qualicum Beach.
Ziebart, who was found unresponsive by first responders, was initially resuscitated by fire rescue and B.C. Ambulance personnel, Qualicum Beach Fire Chief Darryl Kohse said, and was taken to the nearby airport for a flight to hospital in either Victoria or Vancouver. But he was pronounced dead before reaching hospital.
A small dog found with the man in the commercial building at 127 Fern Rd. East was administered oxygen and was recovering at a nearby veterinary clinic, Kohse said.
Qualicum Beach Fire Department was called to Pat’s Antiques and Collectibles late Friday morning to find white smoke coming from the eaves of the roof of both sides of the building, Kohse said.
The department was joined by members from the Coombs-Hilliers and Dashwood Fire Departments on a mutual aid call. With reports that a person might be inside, B.C. Ambulance and Oceanside RCMP also attended the incident, which led to the closure of Fern Road East for two blocks.
Due to a high volume of material inside the building and the narrow aisles, firefighters initially had difficulty locating the source of the smoke.
Eventually, crews ventilated the roof on both sides of the building, releasing clouds of white smoke before the fire was finally located and extinguished.
“A secondary crew entering the building located the fire, which was above a mezzanine on the back side of the building,” said Kohse. “Shortly thereafter, we did another quick search of the building and found an occupant, the owner of the building, inside. He was kind of wedged between a bed and a dresser.”
The man was taken outside, where paramedics performed cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and restored his pulse, before loading him into a waiting ambulance for transfer to the airport, Kohse said. The victim had no burns or other obvious trauma.
“It was most likely some kind of inhalation issue,” said Kohse. “He was unconscious and, I think, in respiratory or cardiac arrest when we arrived.”
The cause of the fire has yet to be determined, he added, and will be investigated in the coming days.