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This article was published 18/3/2020 (462 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A pounding on the door of his motel room alerted Lovepreet Singh to the fire that was burning doors down from where he was sleeping this morning.
Singh, 22, was a guest at the Capri Motel on Pembina Highway in Fort Garry. Firefighters were called to the motel at about 6:10 a.m. Heavy smoke and flames were billowing out of the building’s roof when crews arrived.
Singh said the motel’s front desk clerk beat on his door at about 6:15 a.m., after being alerted to the fire by nearby taxi drivers who noticed the flames.
"We were wondering who it might be, so we looked through the window at what’s happening, and we saw smoke coming out," Singh said. "We were scared that someone was knocking on our door that loud.
"Then I went out and saw the roof of room number six or seven was on fire."
Singh, who is travelling by car from British Columbia to Toronto and stopped overnight at the motel, said he had enough time to collect his belongings before evacuating the suite.There was smoke in his room when he awoke, but the smoke detector did not go off, he said.
The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service said some occupants of the motel had evacuated before firefighters arrived.
No injuries were reported. One cat was found by fire crews and brought to safety, and another is missing.
Crews remained on site extinguishing hot spots throughout the morning. The cause of the fire will be investigated.
Damage to the motel is extensive. A large portion of the roof spanning at least two suites on the east end of the motel was destroyed by flames. Contents of the suites — mattresses, night stands, bicycles and furniture — were piled outside as firefighters continued to extinguish hot spots through a hole cut into the roof. The facility is home to long-term tenants and short-term guests.
Calls to the motel’s owner were not answered Wednesday morning.
This is the second major fire at the building since November. Firefighters were called to the hotel at about 9 a.m. on Nov. 17 to extinguish a blaze in a suite on the first floor of the building, where crews found a body. The death was determined non-criminal, police said.
Last month, the motel’s parking lot was the site of a violent dog attack.
On Feb. 29, four dogs attacked numerous people before crossing Pembina Highway and leaving the area. Two people were taken to hospital with what police called "severe, life-altering injuries," and another was treated for less serious wounds.
After the attack, an employee of the Capri Motel told the Free Press the dogs may have belonged to a couple who live at the motel.
The dogs were apprehended and euthanized, and the owner has since been charged under the city's Responsible Pet Ownership By-law.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.