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Winnipeg firefighters respond to two Friday evening fires

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The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) was kept busy on Friday evening following a pair of fires that began less than an hour apart.

The first fire began just after 7 p.m. in a two-storey apartment building in the 200 block of Fountain Street.

According to the City of Winnipeg, a WFPS crew attending an unrelated call at the location discovered the fire. The crew notified the WFPS 911 Communications Centre and additional firefighters were sent to the building.

The crew launched and interior attack, quickly bringing the fire under control.

Some residents got out of the building, while others stayed in their suites. No one was hurt.

The city notes that the fire was contained to the suite where it was started. There are no damage estimates at this time and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

The second fire began just after 7:45 p.m. at two neighbouring homes in the 500 block of Mountain Avenue.

When firefighters got to the scene, they found the two houses engulfed in smoke and flames.

Crews immediately evacuated those inside the neighbouring homes on both sides before launching an exterior attack using handlines and aerial ladders. Thermal and aerial imaging were also used to direct water streams and find hotspots.

Once conditions improved, firefighters were able to enter the homes and transition to an interior attack. The fire was under control by 9:46 p.m.

“I got to give the fire department credit. They fought [hard] to get those things under control,” said Jason Vermeylen, who lives in the area of the Mountain Avenue fire.

Vermeylen added that at one point the smoke was so thick you couldn’t see the traffic lights in the area.

Everyone got out of the houses safely and no one was hurt. The city’s emergency social services team was brought in to help residents find temporary accommodations.

Both homes sustained significant smoke, fire and water damage. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

“I have to say it’s a bit of a blow and shock,” Vermeylen said.

“When I watched the firefighters make entry there, you could see part of the people’s lives through the smoke and the flashlights. These houses were lived in.”

- With files from CTV’s Alexandra Holyk.

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