WINNIPEG — The arson unit is investigating a suspicious two-alarm fire at one of Winnipeg`s biggest churches caused extensive smoke damage to the building.
On Thursday, fire crews were called to the scene at around 9:30 p.m. at the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral at 1175 Main Street.
Police say initial damage is estimated at more than $1,000,000.
“It’s shocking, it’s very shocking. I couldn’t believe it when I first came in there, how bad it was,” said Steve Hinkawich, a member of the church since 1985.
Fire officials said ventilation was a big challenge due to the size of the structure.
RAW: Interior aftermath of fire
“If you don’t get in there fast and hit it hard, what happens is the whole church can be lost in mere minutes,” said Alex Forrest, president of the United Firefighters of Winnipeg.
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There were no injuries, but police are calling the fire suspicious and the arson unit is investigating.
“If that is the case, what a tragedy. Why would anyone want to do that to such a beautiful piece of Winnipeg’s heritage and history?” said Forrest.
Officers are asking anyone with information to contact them at 204-986-6813 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).
Alex Forrest, the president of the United Firefighters of Winnipeg, tweeted out that over 100 crew members were used when battling the blaze. He also said the fire is likely arson.
There are several other orthodox churches in the area so members of Holy Trinity are hoping that services can be held in some of those while their church is being repaired.