WINNIPEG — An early morning fire that engulfed a century-old house in Crescentwood Sunday was deliberately set, said fire investigators.
A second fire occurred on the same property at 928 McMillan Avenue later that afternoon. Fire investigators have confirmed the initial fire was deliberately started on the back porch, but the second fire is still under investigation.
Firefighters battling the blaze Sunday afternoon struggled to cope with hydrants still covered with ice from the first fire.
Neighbours gathered outside the home to watch firefighters who kept the flames from the 2-1/2-storey home from spreading to other properties just east of Stafford Street.
Chainsaw-wielding firefighters cut down trees to access the house more easily.
Fire officials estimated damage at $250,000, but are still investigating the causes of the two fires.
"We know that it’s a vacant house," district fire chief Jo Vanderhorst said at the scene. "The windows were boarded and it was hard to get in. We started removing things right away."
The first fire was spotted around 2:30 a.m., the second at 4 p.m.
Fire officials said the fire commissioner’s office will investigate both fires as soon as the house is accessible.
Vanderhorst was uncertain where the afternoon fire had started, but he said the overnight blaze began at the rear of the house.
Because the closest hydrants were frozen, firefighters had to use an alternative pumping system a block south on Corydon Avenue to get running water.