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Maryland Street apartment to be demolished following latest fire

Maryland Street apartment to be demolished following latest fire
Global's Erik Pindera on the city's decision to demolish a West End apartment block razed by fire.

A West End apartment block razed by fire Wednesday night will be demolished, the city says.

Firefighters were called to the blaze at the vacant four-storey building in the 400 block Maryland Street just after 10 p.m.

The vacant building had already been heavily damaged after two fires in January 2019, including one that sent four people to hospital.

READ MORE: Four in hospital after apartment fire on Maryland Avenue

Crews faced heavy, black smoke and flames coming from the building and were forced to leave due to hazards inside, the city said.

The fire was under control by 1:25 a.m.

Evacuations forced six people and a dog from two neighbouring buildings, and Winnipeg Transit buses were brought in as shelter for the evacuees.

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Crews battle a fire at a vacant apartment block on Maryland Street.
Crews battle a fire at a vacant apartment block on Maryland Street. Dan Turnbull/Global News

On Thursday the city said the building would be demolished to prevent “imminent hazards.”

Maryland Street will remain closed between Ellice and St. Matthews Avenues — at least through the evening rush hour Thursday — while the building is torn down.

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A neighbour told 680 CJOB he’s frustrated with abandoned buildings in the area being repeatedly set ablaze.

“I think I’ve lived there six years and it’s been up four or five times on fire,” said Roy, who lives nearby and has seen multiple fires in the area.

“A couple of times they fixed it and moved people back in. The last time it went up, it was vacant.

READ MORE: Winnipeg firefighters battle blaze at Maryland Street apartment for second time in a week

“Nothing’s being done with these buildings. The one that was next door to us, it was for sale for a couple of years, and people broke into it, they stole all the copper piping, all the copper wire out of it, so who’s going to buy it?

“It wasn’t boarded up, so you’ve got squatters, or whoever, in there doing what they’re doing. It’s just an open invitation.”

The city said roads around the building are covered in frozen water used to fight the fire, and warns drivers to be careful in the area once the street reopens.

The official cause hasn’t yet been determined, but a fire official suggests it wasn’t accidental.

“It was a vacant, secure structure and the power was turned off to the building and the gas was turned off to the building, so the likelihood of an accidental cause is very, very remote. It was likely human activity that caused this fire,” WFPS Asst. Chief Mark Reshaur said.

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Dangerous conditions leave lanes closed around site of Pembina Highway blaze
Dangerous conditions leave lanes closed around site of Pembina Highway blaze

 

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Crews battle large fire at Winnipeg building under construction
Crews battle large fire at Winnipeg building under construction