Canadian Underwriter

Multiple homes evacuated after Winnipeg fire destroys warehouse

July 22, 2019   by THE CANADIAN PRESS

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WINNIPEG – A central Winnipeg warehouse that covers a full city block has been destroyed by an overnight fire.

Emergency officials say the flames had spread through a large part of the building by the time crews arrived shortly before 1 a.m.

After about half an hour, personnel were pulled back when conditions rapidly deteriorated.

“The smoke and heat conditions were becoming intolerable,” said fire Chief John Lane. “The crews retreated and we reverted to a defensive attack using external handlines and aerial trucks.”

Lane said the south part of the building collapsed and the flames spread, which resulted in the partial collapse of the north end of the structure.

Eight nearby residences were evacuated and Manitoba Hydro cut power to the surrounding area to ensure lines, poles and transformers did not add to the emergency.

Lane said air quality was a concern during the blaze, which generated a lot of smoke that drifted to the east.

“We called Manitoba Sustainable Development to come and monitor the conditions.”

People down wind were asked to keep their windows closed to prevent smoke from getting into their homes.

Lane noted that one firefighter suffered a minor “slip-and-fall” injury but remained on shift. He also said an adjacent business caught fire.

“Flying embers from this fire landed on the roof and ignited a fire. Our crews noticed it right away and were able to extinguish it with minimal damage.”

There was no immediate word on what was inside the building or the possible cause of the fire. Crews were expected to still be on scene Tuesday watching for hot spots.

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