Arson likely in blaze at Forks
Custom-designed warming hut razed
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/02/2011 (4422 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Arsonists torched a warming hut uniquely constructed out of hay bales Wednesday night at The Forks.
The towering structure went up in smoke just before midnight, and by morning people who built the Ice River Trail and erected some 10 warming huts were seeing red.
“We’re more angry than anything. It was obviously arson. I mean, it was sitting by itself in the middle of a frozen field,” The Forks’ chief operating officer Paul Jordan said Thursday.
“It’s unfortunate that there are vandals out there.”
Winnipeg police and fire officials confirmed the blaze is under investigation.
Const. Jason Michalyshen said there was no heater inside the warm-up shack and the fire is considered suspicious. Two witnesses were in the area at the time of the fire, including one who saw an individual dressed in black fleeing the area.
“For something like this to happen is unfortunate,” Michalyshen said, noting the shack was popular with Winnipeggers and visitors to the city.
The arson strike force is investigating the cause. Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 986-6813 or CrimeStoppers at 786-TIPS (8477).
The warming hut may have been an easy target, located away from the other huts that are placed in strategic locations on the river trail itself. The hut, called the Ha(y)ven — constructed of hay bales, the cylinder was designed to reach up to 18 metres — was located on land by the Scotiabank Stage. The structure was a landmark and a windbreak from the cold for skaters, snowboarders and winter walkers.
Guards make regular sweeps of the 54 acres that make up The Forks park site, but the hut that burned was off by itself.
“We have security but we can’t be everywhere at once,” Jordan said.
Witness accounts said flames could be seen from blocks away.
Fire crews at the scene couldn’t do much, for obvious reasons. A front-end loader with a plow pushed the blackened bales into a pile afterward.
Jordan said if there’s a positive spin to the arson, then it is this: “It was slated to be demolished in a week or so, anyway. We save a lot of money in removing it.”
The structure was one of the new warming huts built this winter, each based on a unique design that was custom-made for The Forks’ Ice River Trail.
The Ha(y)ven was dreamed up in New York City. The architects were Tri Nguyen, Jayne Chu, Ben Olschner and Jakob Seyboth.