Dozens of people are now homeless following a massive early morning blaze at an apartment complex on Beaverhill Boulevard near Fermor Avenue.
Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service was called shortly before 6 a.m. Sunday.
When crews arrived the building was fully engulfed.
“When they got to the third floor, they encountered a lot of heat, a lot fire and a lot of smoke,” Assistant Chief Mark Reshaur explained. “It has destroyed the roof of the structure, and it has destroyed all of the suites on the third floor. The roof has collapsed through the ceiling into the third floor.”
Barbara Christie lives on the ground floor of the building that went up in flames. She said she heard an explosion and within a matter of minutes, she had to flee.
“The grass all around was on fire and there was pieces of wood falling down that were also on fire. So of course I thought well I have to get out of here, and put on a few pieces of clothing, and ran out.”
And she wasn’t the only one. The blaze tore through the two adjoining buildings. Fire crews rushed to evacuate the people living in the 24 suites. Nearby apartment buildings were also evacuated as a precaution.
“Some were in just pajamas, they were all barefoot,” said Sumit Vats, who lives in the same complex but in a different building.
Tanis Rummery lives in the building across from the one where the blaze broke out.
“And if they’re not home, they wouldn’t even have had the time to carry out their photograph albums, or treasures, anything.”
The investigation into what sparked the blaze is underway.
Reshaur said the fire traveled from the south of the complex to the north, through the attic.
“We’re very fortunate that nobody was hurt in this fire. This fire spread very quickly because of the type of construction and because it was in the attic,” Reshaur said.
At the peak of the fire there were 19 fire crews and four EMS crews on scene. The fire was deemed under control around 7:40 a.m.
A damage estimate has yet to be determined.
The city’s emergency social services has been called in to help people displaced by the fire, who are now homeless.
The building’s manager said he will do his best to help too.
“We’ll see what we can do to accommodate them, again if they choose to stay here,” George Park said. “I know we don’t have a whole lot of empties, but we have some.”