April 3, 2019 4:41 pm
Updated: April 3, 2019 11:31 pm

Under-construction Winkler elementary school catches fire

A Winkler school under construction caught on fire Wednesday.

Joshua Pauls/Submitted
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A school in Winkler caught fire Wednesday afternoon.

Pine Ridge Elementary School is currently under construction and was set to open in September.

Garden Valley School Division confirmed no students were inside when the blaze began Wednesday afternoon.

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“A staff member who was en route to the school noticed that there was a fire and contacted me immediately to let me know,” Todd Monster, superintendent of Garden Valley School Division, said. “There would have been quite a number of construction people on site at this point in time — the exact number, I don’t know.”

“We’re optimistic and hope the smoke is worse than the actual damage but again we’re waiting for further information to be able to determine exactly how much damage and where we go from here.”

One caller told 680 CJOB he could see the flames and smoke coming from the building around 3 p.m., saying it looked like a large fire.

“We can see the plumes of smoke all over town — in fact we’re getting people telling us news tips they’re seeing the smoke all the way in Morden, which is another five miles away,” Chuck Vandaele with Pembina Valley Online said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, Vandaele said, and the smoke was lessening as the fire department battled the blaze.

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