WINNIPEG – Firefighters battled a blaze at the Towers Hotel in Dauphin, Man., as heavy equipment tore down part of the still-burning century-old building Thursday morning.
The Dauphin Fire Department was dispatched to the hotel on Dauphin’s Main Street at about 3 a.m. for a report of smoke.
Firefighters quickly searched the rooms to make sure everyone had escaped but despite attempts to fight the fire, were forced out by heat and smoke, fire officials said.
They then battled the flames that burned through the roof of the building by pouring water on it from outside. A track hoe was brought in to pull down part of the building so firefighters could get water inside the hotel and prevent the blaze from spreading to nearby buildings.
The Gilbert Plains Fire Department was also called in to help the 36-person Dauphin department.
The age and construction of the building made it hard to contain the fire to one area, the fire department said.
It appears the fire started on the main floor, Dauphin Fire Department Chief Cameron Abrey said.
Residents of the hotel, most of whom escaped with very few belongings, were relocated to the Dauphin Friendship Centre.
The former Hamilton Hotel, built more than 100 years ago, was once the “finest hotel in Dauphin,” Abrey said.
More recently it was used as inexpensive apartments that housed 29 people the last time the fire department inspected it, Abrey said.
That inspection, four to five months ago, found all smoke alarms working. The fire department inspected the hotel twice a year, Abrey said, but it wasn’t built to current fire standards.
The fire continued to burn as heavy equipment pulled down a wall at about 8 a.m., said Christian Laughland of 730 CKDM from Dauphin.
“They’ve got an excavator in there right now,” Laughland told the Morning News shortly after 8 a.m.
While the building was one of the oldest in Dauphin, it was no longer the stately old hotel it had been, he said.
“This place was kind of an eyesore,” Laughland said.
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