One person critically injured in three fires in city
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A person was rushed to hospital after flames erupted in a three-storey block in the West End, one of three fires Winnipeg firefighters raced to extinguish Tuesday.
Crews were sent to the Adanac Apartments building at 741 Sargent Ave. at around 9 a.m.
Firefighters entered the building to help residents evacuate, and one was sent to hospital in critical condition.
The fire, which was brought under control within the hour, is still under investigation. One nearby business owner, who asked not to be named, said fires in the building are common.
“You know how common it is? It doesn’t even spark any concern anymore. You get so used to it,” she said.
Earlier, a derelict home on Stella Avenue, which a neighbour said had become a refuge for squatters, had to be demolished after fire raged through it.
The one-storey home in the 400 block of the North End street went up in flames around 6:45 a.m. Tuesday; it took firefighters nearly two hours to bring it under control.
No injuries were reported. It was what fire crews call an “involved” fire — one that is so widespread they aren’t able to go inside, said Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service district chief Dick Vlaming.
Depending on the situation, firefighters won’t race into a burning derelict home.
“Vacant homes that have been burnt out, we’re keeping firefighters out. We don’t know if anybody’s in there, but it’s firefighter safety, and also public safety. These derelict homes could have somebody in there, but we’re just not sure,” he said. “With the fire so well-involved, firefighters couldn’t get in there anyway.”
Firefighters used an aerial ladder to attack the fire from the outside.
The burned hulk was knocked down by a backhoe after the fire was put out. By Tuesday afternoon, only a pile of burnt rubble remained.
“We’re getting a lot of fires like this right now. There’s quite a few and it’s too bad,” Vlaming said. “That’s the way they’re getting cleaned up. I don’t know if somebody’s lighting them up, a lot of them are suspicious, usually under investigation for a while.”
The two neighbouring homes weren’t seriously damaged.
A neighbour said she often witnessed homeless people taking shelter in the home during the two years she has lived in the area,
“There were always people squatting in there. So we think someone was just cold and started a fire in the sink or something,” she said.
She and her five children fled from their home after they saw smoke billowing out of the building. They weren’t able to return to home until around 10 a.m.
“It was crazy, and it took a while for the (fire) department to get here, so we had our kids out, put them in the vehicle and just waited,” she said.
Aside from one break-in, she said the people who took shelter int eh home weren’t a threat. Regardless, she wants to move away.
“We’re wanting to get out of here now, it’s just enough,” she said.
Vlaming said it’s common for vacant homes to go up in flames after people start a fire to stay warm.
“It’s too bad, they need to keep warm too, so they’ll find something to light to keep warm and it gets out of hand,” he said.
A third fire broke out in a single-storey house in the 300 block of Ferry Road just before 10 a.m.
Firefighters saw smoke coming out of the house and attacked the blaze from inside, getting it under control in under an hour.
No one was home and there were no injuries.
The cause is beleived to be related to the electrical system.
Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.