St. Vital businesses cleaning up after massive fire causes $1M in damages
Beth Macdonell, CTV Winnipeg
Published Monday, February 15, 2016 4:10PM CST
Last Updated Monday, February 15, 2016 8:03PM CST
Businesses in St. Vital are cleaning up after a massive fire on St. Mary's Road Sunday night.
El Dorado Trading Centre, a bathroom and kitchen renovation business, was completely destroyed. Demolition crews tore the remaining structure overnight, while two businesses on either side escaped serious damage.
Thirty firefighters worked at the scene from 11 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 14.
The city said two people were inside when the fire started, but managed to escape before firefighters arrived on scene.
On Monday, thick ice covered vehicles and the parking lot in front of the vehicle repair shop.
One of the owners of Minute Muffler, located next to El Dorado Trading Centre, said he's lucky the wind was blowing away from his business.
"Very lucky; a different day it could have been, a whole different game," said Tim Kehler, who co-owns Minute Muffler and operates his business next to where the fire raged.
Mike Page lives a few houses down from the fire. He couldn't help but watch the flames and the strange colours coming from the building.
“Everyone I talked to was concerned because the flames weren't going down for a while,” said Page.
Alex Forrest, president of the United Firefighters of Winnipeg, told CTV the union had several concerns with the huge blaze. He said it was evident from the smoke several cancer causing-chemicals were burning in the fire.
"It was an absolute kaleidoscope of cancer-causing agents that you could just see; and given it was a defensive fire, (firefighters) couldn't wear their masks and be in that smoke," Forrest told CTV on Monday.
Forrest said firefighters did a good job saving the nearby businesses and warning people living in the area about the dangerous smoky conditions.
"The firefighters were here within two to three minutes and this building was fully engulfed,” said Forrest. “It looked like there were multiple fires inside as well, so you could tell this was a serious fire.”
Kehler is thankful his business was unharmed, but feels for his neighbour’s loss.
“It hurts in the stomach. You feel really sorry for the people because you don't even know where to start this process of starting over," Kehler said.
Winnipeg police said damage is estimated in excess of $1,000,000.
Members of the Winnipeg Arson Unit are investigation what caused the blaze.
Winnipeg police said Monday no one was injured and the cause is undetermined at this time.