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This article was published 6/5/2017 (1838 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A motorist is expected to recover after the car he was driving rammed through a bank at a Winnipeg mall Saturday and caught fire inside the branch.
Police confirmed the driver was taken to hospital in stable condition but they had no additional details Saturday afternoon.
Bank employees with CIBC said they were called to the scene at the Southdale Mall on Fermor Avenue shortly after the crash was reported arround 6:30 a.m.
It's believed the driver, a middle-aged man in his 50s, suffered a seizure or heart attack at the wheel and lost control of the car he was driving. His foot stayed on the gas pedal, propelling the car forward and into the bank.
The branch is located directly across from a fast food restaurant's take out, which would have been the only business open in the mall at that early hour.
The vehicle came to rest just metres before hitting the back wall; the engine caught fire after the car stopped, bank employees and a passer-by told a Free Press reporter.
"I can't believe it just went straight and to go that far in? There's no other word for it. It's a miracle nobody was killed," one by-stander said.
Two senior bank employees were on hand most of the morning, watching the clean-up after the ambulance left and emergency crews got the vehicle out of the building and towed away.
Bank customers viewed the scene with disbelief and said it was incredible no one was badly hurt.
"I've heard the driver's doing ok. He's awake and alert and remembers some stuff," said branch manager Todd Smith.
He shook his head and said it could have been a lot worse. "It's just a building. Had it been an hour or two later? There would have been customers and staff in here," he said.
Suzanne Goulet, a senior branch officer, pointed to a gaping hole where her office used to be and said "I've called it my home for 13 years. I'm very thankful I wasn't there."
The damage to the branch was extensive; the entire interrior was destroyed, and scorch marks were visible at the back of the building. There's no word on how long repairs will take.
For now, the bank hopes to relocate to nearby offices in the same building within the next few days. ATMs are expected to be back up and running as early as Sunday or Monday.
"Our corporate head office will have all the information and they'll deal with it. But until they can assess all the damage we really don't know," the branch manager said.
The impact of the crash was widely broadcast on social media, with photos and comments on Twitter.