One person has died and three others were injured following an apartment fire in Merville Tuesday.

Firefighters from both the Courtenay and Oyster River fire departments were called to battle the blaze at the Hillview Apartments around 11:40 a.m.

The reports noted that someone may be trapped inside the burning building.

"Upon arrival, we found about half of the upper floor fully engulfed," said Courtenay Deputy Fire Chief Kurt MacDonald.

"Crews got a quick knock-down from the outside, we were able to gain entry into some of the units and unfortunately we found an individual who was deceased in the fire," he said.

The fire is believed to have started in the unit where the deceased person was discovered before spreading to two others on the either side on the second storey.

A staff member from the Mennonite Church, located across the street from the fire, and students from a nearby school comforted victims of the fire by providing blankets to an elderly man who was helped from the building. Witnesses say that the elderly man was calling for his wife at the time.

The senior could be seen being placed into an ambulance along with another woman to receive treatment from paramedics.

Macdonald said that 11 individuals exited the eight-unit building and received assistance from Emergency Social Services following the fire.

“[There were] no sprinklers in the building but in terms of smoke alarms there were some in the units,” said Macdonald. “But, as to whether or not they were working or assisted in the evacuation of the building, I don't know at this time.”

A coroner who attended the scene confirmed that there was a single fatality but was unable to speak on the victim’s age or gender.

The fire investigation is now in the hands of Courtenay RCMP.