A blaze that destroyed two buildings on Notre Dame Avenue and left a family homeless early Saturday is being investigated as an arson.
District fire Chief Paul Robinson said Saturday the blaze started in a garbage bin behind Miranda Foods, at 530 Notre Dame Ave., and spread to that building and the one next door containing a video store at about 2:40 a.m.
"It was well-involved when we arrived," Robinson said while firefighters poured water into the building.
The business's owner, Emilio Miranda, his wife and son -- who lived above the store -- were able to get out safely.
Robinson said a firefighter burned his hands while battling the fire.
Area resident Darren Lavallee said he already misses the small grocery and hopes it rebuilds.
"I could get 10 pork chops for six bucks there -- where do you get that?" Lavallee said.
"They had good deals there. Even cigarettes were cheaper there than anywhere else."
Bill Smith, another area resident, said he's glad the people inside were able to get out safely.
"The material things you can always rebuild," Smith said.
Robinson said the buildings are a total loss. Winnipeg police estimated the damages at $1 million.
Notre Dame west of Isabel Street to Langside Street was closed for several hours.
Winnipeg police say anyone with information on the blaze is asked to call investigators at 204-986-6813 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).