Shortly after 1 a.m. on June 8, 1954, Winnipeg firefighters were alerted to a fire at the Time Building.
That blaze, 65 years ago today, turned out to be one of the most spectacular in Winnipeg’s history.
It began in the false ceiling of the main floor. Fuelled by 120 km/h winds, flames and embers quickly spread through the building at the northwest corner of Portage Avenue and Hargrave Street. By 6 a.m., it was a three-alarm blaze with more than 200 firefighters and 26 vehicles at the scene.
By the time the fire was extinguished days later, the Time Building, Dismorr Block and Edwards Block were completely destroyed, while the Affleck Block and Norlyn Building were severely damaged.
It could have been far worse if it wasn’t for the efforts of staff at Eaton’s, which was kitty-corner from the Time Building. Workers hung fire hoses from Eaton’s rooftop to create a water curtain to keep the heat from igniting the wooden frames of the store’s windows.
Miraculously, no one died and just one firefighter was slightly injured.