Large fire leaves two families homeless, damages houses and cuts off power to residences
Published Sunday, May 19, 2019 12:22PM CST
Last Updated Monday, May 20, 2019 12:37PM CST
A large fire in the West End damaged a half dozen homes, cut off power to several residences and left two families homeless Sunday.
It broke out around 11:30 a.m. at a vacant duplex in the 500-block of Young Street near Ellice Avenue.
Platoon Chief Brian Marchak said fire fighters couldn’t go inside because the building wasn’t structurally sound and had been boarded due to a previous fire in March 2018.
“We were more concerned about exposure, which extended to six houses,” Marchak.
“Suffered extreme heat exposure, melting the siding, buring through the fences in the backyard.”
One house next to the duplex that burned is so badly damaged, a family of five has been left homeless. Several people in the area quickly jumped in to help and gave them food, clothing and a stroller. The family has three children ages, one, two and three.
Marchak said when crews arrived the house was fully engulfed in flames and at one point the flames were between four and six metres high.
He told CTV News some hydro lines in the area were bruned.
Winnipeg police said Manitoba Hydro turned off the power in the area to deal with the situation. It was expected to restored by around 4 p.m..
Marchak said the duplex is a total loss and as of Sunday afternoon no one has been injured.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Manitoba Hydro said on Twitter about 100 customers were affected in the area between Young Street and Spence Street, and Ellice Avenue and Sargent Avenue.
TWO FAMILIES HOMELESS
Paul Hudson lived in a house beside the vacant duplex. He called 911 and escaped with his three children and pregnant wife.
"She got up and started yelling and said babe, ‘The house is on fire’, just kind of fast reaction and got everyone out,” he said.
Hudson's family is now homeless, but he’s still looking at the positive side of the emergency.
It's his birthday, his family is safe and the community is already pitching in with donations.
Sunday afternoon neighbours gave them clothes, food and a stroller.
“It's not the way I planned to blow out my candle, but there's always another year,” he said.
“I'm just happy everyone is out and I’m grateful for all the donations.”
A family of seven, with four children, who lived in another unit of the same house is also homeless.
"They don't have any clothes, they've got nothing. If anyone can help out, that would be awesome,” said family friend Dana Kopnitsky.
One family member told CTV News a pet rat was saved from the fire.
FIFTH FIRE IN WINNPIEG SINCE FRIDAY MORNING
This is the fifth fire in Winnipeg since Friday morning.
Marchak said so far crews are managing and keeping on top of it.
“Well, we’re happy it’s not one on top of the other, and it’s falling to other parts of the city.”
Marchak said after a fire is extinguished fire fighters will get hydrated, shower, clean equipement and be back on duty within a hour of leaving a scene.
"This weekend has been one of our worst long weekends on record and Firefighters will be glad when this long weekend is over," said United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg president Alex Forrest in a text message to CTV News.
Platoon Chief Brian Marchak said Sunday the community arson program, where fire fighters go down back lanes will be starting up again soon.
“We’re encouraging people to clean up their summer clean-ups, whether its leaves, furniture, all their rubbish and garbage, close their garage doors,” he said.
Marchak said there have been cases where people have broken into vacant houses.
If people see a vacant house that’s not boarded up, he encourages them to contact the city and report it so it can be fixed.