Another building is the latest to suffer serious damage on Friday in a series of house and building fires in Winnipeg.
Friday morning at around 2 a.m., fire crews responded to a fire in a vacant three-storey building on William Avenue.
This is the second time the building has gone up in flames. The first was in July 2021.
Crews say the building was engulfed with heavy smoke and flames when they arrived and they had to fight the fire from outside as it was unsafe to enter the building.
Due to this, the Winnipeg Police Service’s AIR1 helicopter assisted by monitoring the scene from above and providing updates.
A neighbouring house was evacuated and suffered smoke and water damage and the three-storey building is expected to be a total loss.
Operations at the scene are ongoing, with crews using aerial ladders and hose streams to fight the fire. It is expected that crews will remain at the scene for most of the day.
No injuries were reported from either building and the fire is currently under investigation.
Several fires have broken out in Winnipeg over the past month.
On Thursday, two fires broke out in two separate areas of the city, one on Simcoe Street and one on Elgin Avenue.
The blaze on Simcoe resulted in several injuries, one of which was to a child and was critical.
The one on Elgin started around 5 a.m. in a single-storey house in the 1800 block of Elgin Avenue. The flames were under control by 5:27 a.m. and no injuries were reported.
The home suffered damage to the attic and interior but no damage estimates are available at this time.
There were also two other notable fires Thursday, one on Young Street and one in a Winnipeg bus shelter, both of which caused no injuries but did do some damage.
The city says it has responded to 108 fires so far in January. This includes structure fires, outdoor fires, vehicle fires and additional outdoor fires.
Of those, 30 are considered accidental and 17 are considered suspicious.
Additionally, 60 are categorized as an undetermined cause, and one was not categorized.
The fire total has not reached last year’s level yet. For comparison, WFPS responded to a total of 144 fires in January 2021. Of these, 45 were considered accidental, 29 were considered suspicious, and 70 were categorized as an undetermined cause.
Crews are feeling the exhaustion from the number of fires and noted the cold weather as a hindrance.
“The cold has created challenging conditions for firefighting. The area around the scene is ice-covered and slippery,” the city said in a release.
Extra units are having to be called on scene to allow for frequent rotations to protect them from the conditions, the city says.
“It’s exhausting firefighters and paramedics are working very hard to ensure that the citizens of Winnipeg remain safe,” Jamie Vanderhorst, WFPS assistant chief, told Global News.
“When we’re dealing with extreme cold conditions and the conditions presented today we have to rotate crews a lot.”
There is no word on what is causing these fires but community activist Sel Burrows does have some theories.
Burrows has been handing out flyers around North Point Douglas with information on fires and preventive measures.
“What’s causing it, my list starts with bad wiring, old electric heaters, cigarettes, kitchen fires, arson,” said Burrows.
“One of the things we are talking to people about is, don’t get old heaters.”
Burrows says Manitoba Hydro is responsible for fixing furnaces so if your place is cold, reach out to them.
“You don’t have to put up with a cold place, you don’t have to use alternative crappy heating systems..” he said.