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Electrical fire destroys crematorium in RM of Headingley

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A backhoe prepares to demolish the burned-out Wojcik's Crematorium on Wilkes Avenue on Sunday following a fire there Friday night.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

A backhoe prepares to demolish the burned-out Wojcik's Crematorium on Wilkes Avenue on Sunday following a fire there Friday night. Photo Store

An electrical fire caused Friday night’s blaze at a crematorium owned by Wojcik’s Funeral Chapel and Crematorium Inc, RCMP said Sunday in a news release.

Police confirmed Sunday there were bodies waiting to be cremated at the facility, located on Wilkes Avenue in the RM of Headingley.

No one from Wojcik’s responded to requests for comment Sunday to indicate how many bodies were in the building or what the funeral home would do for bereaved customers.

A backhoe was demolishing what’s left of the crematorium Sunday morning.

The front end of the building was all that was left standing of the crematorium, located on a stark stretch of Wilkes Avenue west of the Perimeter Highway. The shell of a burned-out car could be seen among the charred remains where the back of the building would have been.

RCMP said the Office of the Fire Commissioner investigated the cause of the fire. An official was on the scene taking photos of the rubble Sunday while a Mountie watched. Damage is pegged at $1 million, police said.

Headingley’s volunteer fire department responded to the fire call at 8:15 p.m. Friday but when they arrived at the scene, it was too late to save it, said Chief Doug Hansen,

"It was totally involved upon our arrival," Hansen said Sunday.

He said they didn’t know how many bodies were kept in the facility waiting to be cremated. "We had no idea," he said. "We knew what the building was."

RCMP confirmed Sunday the fire was "electrical in nature" and is not considered suspicious.

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Sunday, November 10, 2013 at 5:37 PM CST: Updated with cause of blaze.

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