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Firefighters forced back during battle against massive Winnipeg warehouse blaze

People down wind of the fire were asked to keep their windows closed to prevent smoke from getting into their homes.

July 23, 2019   by CP STAFF

WINNIPEG—A central Winnipeg warehouse that covered a full city block has been destroyed by a fire.

Emergency officials say the flames had spread through a large part of the building by the time crews arrived shortly before 1 a.m. Monday.

After about half an hour, personnel were pulled back when conditions rapidly deteriorated.

“The smoke and heat conditions were becoming intolerable,” said fire Chief John Lane. “The crews retreated and we reverted to a defensive attack using external handlines and aerial trucks.”

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Lane said the south part of the building collapsed and the flames spread, which resulted in the partial collapse of the north end of the structure.

Heavy machinery was being brought in to demolition the rest of the building, because the remaining structure was unstable and at risk of further collapse. Demolition was expected to expose more hot spots for crews to extinguish.

Eight nearby residences were evacuated and Manitoba Hydro cut power to the surrounding area to ensure lines, poles and transformers did not add to the emergency.

Lane said air quality was a concern during the blaze, which generated a lot of smoke that drifted to the east.

“We called Manitoba Sustainable Development to come and monitor the conditions.”

People down wind were asked to keep their windows closed to prevent smoke from getting into their homes.

Lane noted that one firefighter suffered a minor “slip-and-fall” injury but remained on shift. He also said an
adjacent business caught fire.

“Flying embers from this fire landed on the roof and ignited a fire. Our crews noticed it right away and were able to extinguish it with minimal damage.”

There was no immediate word on what was inside the building or the possible cause of the fire. Crews were expected to still be on scene Tuesday watching for hot spots.

No damage estimate was available yet


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