‘Spectacular firefighting work’ protected buildings near condo fire: WFPS assistant chief

Click to play video: 'Flames burn after fire breaks out at condo construction site in Winnipeg'
Flames burn after fire breaks out at condo construction site in Winnipeg
Flames burn after fire breaks out at condo construction site in Winnipeg – Feb 16, 2020

Investigators are looking into the cause of a blaze that burned a condo building in northeast Winnipeg that was under construction to the ground.

Crocus Gardens on Philip Lee Drive went up in flames early Sunday morning, and two crews of firefighters were on scene doing what they could to keep other buildings in the vicinity safe.

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) assistant chief Jay Shaw told 680 CJOB that structures undergoing renovations or under construction are at higher risk of fires.

“When buildings are being renovated, demolished or under construction, there’s a lot of activity happening,” he said. “You’ve got all your construction workers and a lot of electrical and heating and different tradespeople doing work.

“It allows for a certain level of increased risk, any time you have that much work going on.”

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Shaw said fire investigators were able to do an objective investigation on Sunday night — which means, they were able to physically go through the debris and rubble in their efforts to determine the cause of the fire.

They also conducted a subjective investigation — talking to witnesses, building owners and construction workers, but the size of the incident means it’s going to take some time.

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It was clear when firefighters arrived on scene at Philip Lee Drive early Sunday morning that the building wasn’t going to be saved, so they opted to save other buildings nearby.

“They’re trained to do a risk assessment and determine what the best course of action is,” said Shaw.

“Are they going to send all of their resources and all their firefighters to try and put the fire out on that one building, and potentially lose three others? One was not occupied, but there were two other condominium complexes just to the north had been occupied in the last little while, so you’ve got life safety issues over there.”

“When we look at it now, it was pretty spectacular firefighting work, because it was potentially millions of dollars saved.”

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According to the condo complex’s website, the 232-unit development consisted of four buildings, some of which are were under construction at the time of the fire.

The blaze comes on the heels of a similar fire at a building on Pembina Highway in December.


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