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Hundreds evacuated and crews still working after massive fire in downtown Brandon

Click to play video: 'Devastating fire tears through several buildings in downtown Brandon' Devastating fire tears through several buildings in downtown Brandon
WATCH: A devastating fire tore through Brandon's historic downtown core Saturday afternoon. Three buildings have been gutted and another severely damaged. And while we still don't know what sparked the blaze, officials say they're thankful no one was hurt. Global's Nikki Jhutti has more – May 20, 2018

Crews are still on scene working to extinguish a massive fire that tore through downtown Brandon on Saturday.

Fire officials were mainly focused on the building that houses Collyer’s Sales and Service and the Brandon Boxing Club on Sixth Street and Pacific Avenue. The city said they believe the strip mall will have active work being done on it throughout most of Sunday.

But it isn’t the only area being watched almost 22 hours after the blaze first sparked.

READ MORE: ‘Massive flames and massive ash’: Fire rips through downtown Brandon

According to a city spokesperson, fire crews are monitoring dozens of hot spots throughout the core after working all night.

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A closer look as the blaze rages on Saturday afternoon. Kaileea Graham
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A closer look as the blaze rages on Saturday afternoon. Kaileea Graham
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Crews work to contain the flames. Kaileea Graham
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A look some of the aftermath. Kaileea Graham
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A closer look as the blaze rages on Saturday afternoon. Kaileea Graham
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Crews work to extinguish flames. Kaileea Graham
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A closer look as the blaze rages on Saturday afternoon. Kaileea Graham

The director of emergency management with the City of Brandon, Brian Kayes, said the fight was a tough one.

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“Three of the fires are essentially out,” Kayes said, “[but at the Collyer’s building] they’re having difficulty getting water into the right place. Brandon Fire Department brought in some aid and together we were able to manage to control the fires as best as we could.

The fire was sparked at the Christie’s Office Plus building on Pacific Avenue just after 12 p.m. Saturday.

Crews believe embers from the structure drifted and started subsequent blazes at three additional buildings: Massey Manor and Collyer’s Sales and Service at 638 Pacific, the strip mall at 603 Pacific, and a building housing a beer vendor and vacant nightclub on the corner of 5th Street and Rosser Avenue.

RELATED: Fire destroys three historic buildings in Virden

All the buildings were evacuated, as were others nearby.

The Christie’s Office Plus building and the beer vendor and vacant nightclub were both destroyed. The other impacted structures received major damage.

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No fatalities or injuries have been reported.

Brandon resident Janna MacDonald witnessed the blaze.

“The building was completely enveloped by flames,” MacDonald said. “Every single window was full of flames and every single thing that was inside that building was just completely gone in a matter of probably minutes.”

“It was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. It almost looked like fireworks.”

MacDonald said Sunday she believes it’s one of the worst events in the city’s history.

“It’s hurtful for downtown, historic Brandon,” MacDonald said. “We’re really proud of our downtown buildings [so] it’s going to be pretty painful.”

“In my lifetime I’ve never seen this kind of damage. It was absolutely terrifying”

The Massey Manor is owned by the Brandon Friendship Centre, Canadian Mental Health Association and Manitoba Housing. It contains affordable housing for those experiencing homelessness.

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Pictures of the damage less than 24 hours after a massive fire tore through downtown Brandon. Nikki Jhutti / Global News
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Pictures of the damage less than 24 hours after a massive fire tore through downtown Brandon. Nikki Jhutti / Global News
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Pictures of the damage less than 24 hours after a massive fire tore through downtown Brandon. Nikki Jhutti / Global News

The Red Cross and Salvation Army are assisting more than 100 people who have been displaced.

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Manitoba Hydro said as of 9:30 p.m. Saturday, every customer who had their power cut off due to the fire has had it restored.

An investigation into the cause of the initial fire is underway, but the cause is currently unknown.

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