A massive fire at a Winnipeg motel forced guests and staff from the building Friday afternoon.

Around 3:40 p.m., fire crews responded to a blaze at the Super 8 Motel on Niakwa Road East near Lagimodiere Boulevard and Fermor Avenue.

A witness told CTV News she saw thick black smoke from her workplace. When she got closer, she could see orange flames.

"It's probably going to burn to the ground," the witness said.

The Winnipeg Fire Department said the blaze appeared to have started in an unoccupied area.

"The fire was confined to the rear-section of the building. It was new construction and it's probably a total loss," said WFD Platoon Chief Barry Evans.

Evans said the fire did not likely start in the new area and that part of the old motel was damaged as well.

He said construction workers were on scene at the time and all vacated the area safely.

There were 25 guests booked into the motel, with four in the buiding at the time. All were evacuated and unharmed.

Fire crews used aerial ladders and heavy equipment to help deliver water to the scene. The platoon chief said the heavy-handed approach likely saved more than half of the motel, which still received extensive damage.

The Winnipeg Fire Dept. says damages to Super 8 Motel under renovation is $3 million.

Cause is under investigation

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.