Major structure fire at Saskatoon hotel construction site

Click to play video: 'Major structure fire at Saskatoon hotel construction site'
Major structure fire at Saskatoon hotel construction site
WATCH: At least two explosions were heard from the top floor as firefighters fought a blaze at a hotel construction site in Saskatoon. Adam MacVicar with the details – Apr 18, 2018

Massive flames, billowing smoke and even multiple explosions could be seen at a hotel under construction on Wednesday morning.

Saskatoon firefighters were called shortly before 6:30 a.m. CT. Seven fire trucks responded to the scene on Lorne Avenue by Circle Drive South.

“The fire started on the upper floors, the upper half of the building, on what we would consider the west-side of the tower portion of the structure,” Saskatoon Fire Department assistant chief Wayne Rodger said.

The fire spread to the lower levels of the building, but was declared under control at 9:17 a.m.

Explosions were heard while firefighters battled a major blaze at a hotel construction site in Saskatoon. SkyCam / Global News

At least two explosions were heard from the top floor as crews fought the blaze. Rodger said the explosions were caused by propane tanks used to heat the building.

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He admitted we may never know the cause of the blaze.

“The stability of that structure isn’t in the best interest of sending our people in, we fear there’s potential for collapse,” Rodger said. “If there’s no way to secure the stability of that building, we may not be able to (investigate).”

WATCH: Saskatoon firefighters combating massive fire after two explosions reportedly happened on the top floor of the construction site.

Click to play video: 'Massive fire at a construction site in Saskatoon'
Massive fire at a construction site in Saskatoon

Cost estimates of damage to the building are unknown at this time, adding to the challenges of responding to a major fire at a construction site.

“The exposed construction materials, the combustible construction materials are always a challenge for us,” Rodger said. “During the construction is when it’s most vulnerable to fire.”

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Construction workers told Global News the building was a new Sandman Hotel. They said they were pouring concrete overnight on the ground floor when they discovered smoke.

The fire department has organized a fire-watch with building managers and contractors on site, due to lingering hot spots crews couldn’t reach.

This is a unique site in Saskatoon, as it’s one of the first six-storey wood frame structures since changes to the National Building Code of Canada in 2015.

“The 2015 codes introduced new requirements to allow for six-storey wood frame construction; with that included provisions as well in the fire code with respect to fire safety at construction sites,” Kara Fagnou, director of building standards for the City of Saskatoon, said.

READ MORE: Fire extensively damages Mayfair house

Damage is limited to the western portion of the hotel tower and the eastern side is undamaged, but whether the building can be salvaged is a decision that will be made by the developer and the insurance company.

Global News reached out to the hotel’s developer, Northland Properties Corporation, but were not available for comment.

There are no reports of injuries caused by the blaze.


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