Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Virden fires considered suspicious

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VIRDEN -- A suspicious fire that destroyed True Value Hardware and a seniors' fourplex in Virden on Sunday morning was the biggest blaze the area's fire department had to fight in recent memory, said Virden Fire Chief Brad Yochim.

Approximately 30 firefighters from Virden, Elkhorn and Oak Lake departments assisted in battling the blaze.

"We don't know the cause -- all I can really say is that it was suspicious in nature. There were separate fires at the same time at two different locations -- at the hardware store and at the Bargain Store a block away," Yochim said.

When the fire department arrived shortly after 4 a.m., the back of True Value Hardware was on fire, and the fourplex was also beginning to burn. The main hydro line that feeds Virden's downtown was lying in the middle of the fire zone, and it was still active.

"When I got here this line was on the ground and still live, so we concentrated on trying to save the fourplex because the flames were already shooting out of the back of the hardware store," Yochim said.

Occupants of the seniors' fourplex were able to escape without injury.

Hydro crews worked throughout Sunday morning trying to restore power to Virden's downtown businesses.

The Fire Commissioner continues to investigate.

 

- Brandon Sun

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 10, 2012 A5

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