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Multiple fire crews respond to 'significant fire' at Logan Avenue warehouse

Multiple fire crews were called to a massive lumberyard warehouse fire that prompted evacuations and a smoke warning in Winnipeg's Dufferin industrial area early Sunday morning.

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) was called around 1:36 a.m. on August 6 to a "significant fire" at Anco Lumber in the 900 block of Logan Avenue. Crews called a second alarm due to the size and scale of the fire, which brought more firefighters and equipment to the scene.

Firefighters attacked the flames from the outside using aerial ladders and hand-held hose lines. One firefighter sustained a minor injury and was assessed by paramedics, but did not need to be taken to hospital.

WFPS crews are expected to be on scene throughout the day. Nearby residents are advised to close their doors and windows to protect their homes’ air quality.

Dick Vlaming, the acting fire platoon chief on scene, said the smoke is toxic. He's encouraging residents near the fire to be cautious, and to leave the area if they are sensitive to smoke.

"The building itself is a lumber yard," Vlaming said. "You know what's in a lumber yard: paints, asphalt, shingles. Any building material."

He doesn't know when the fire will be under control, saying crews could be on scene into the evening.

"There are some forklifts in the area. We don't know exactly their location so at anytime anything can happen."

Vlaming said crews are keeping neighbouring businesses safe from the flames. As many as 50 firefighters were on scene at once.

Six houses on Alexander Avenue have been temporarily evacuated as a precaution. Two Winnipeg Transit buses were called to provide shelter for evacuated residents.

Annaliza Quitoras said when she woke up around 8:30 a.m., her internet was out. She went outside to look around to see if she could find out why.

"I saw it was smoky, hazy. Kind of foggy," Quitoras said. "Then I smelled smoke."

She and her family live one block from the fire. Quitoras says she will stay inside Sunday.

"I don't know how long it will take for them to take the fire and smoke out."

Logan Avenue and Alexander Avenue between Arlington Street and McPhillips Street were closed to traffic Sunday morning. Pedestrians and drivers were asked to avoid the area.

The intense smoke caused a code grey to be initiated at Health Sciences Centre. Shared Health tells CTV News it began shortly after 3:30 a.m., turning off fans to prevent smoke from getting into the facility Non-emergeny ambulances were transferred to other sites.

Shared Health said the code entered just before noon, adding their maintenance crews were able to mitigate the smoke.

Demolition crews have removed parts of the building so firefighters can access hot spots. The WFPS drone was also used to help assess the situation.

WFPS said one fire crew remains on scene to ensure the fire is out. All roads have been re-opened to traffic.

Residents who were evacuated have since been able to return to their homes. 

David Homthavong said the damage isn't too bad. "(On) the front of the house, the siding's melted in a little bit," he said. "Nothing else seems to be damaged fortunately."

One month earlier, crews responded to a similar industrial building fire in Point Douglas. Vlaming said once crews return from large fires, they need to prepare for the next one.

"It's really taxing on the guys, on the firefighters. But it's what we do."

- with files from CTV's Taylor Brock. Top Stories

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