1 person hospitalized from 2-storey fire on Main Street in Point Douglas

Drifting smoke fills the air as Winnipeg firefighters continue to battle a fire involving a two-storey, multi-use apartment building in the Point Douglas neighbourhood.

Nearly two dozen emergency vehicles responded to fire just after 7:15 a.m. on Saturday off Main Street, between Sutherland and Jarvis avenues, that blocked off traffic in both directions between Higgins and Dufferin avenues.

Southbound traffic has since reopened.

The major incident response vehicle was also present to assist residents, according to a news release from the city of Winnipeg.

The building is expected to be a total loss.

Emergency crews are using two aerial ladders in an attempt to extinguish the fire, which sent one person to hospital in stable condition.

Emergency crews present at a structure fire.
Winnipeg firefighters use an aerial ladder to battle a fire involving a two-storey building on Main Street, between Jarvis and Sutherland avenues, on Saturday morning. (Nathan Liewicki/CBC)

Several other individuals were also treated and cleared by paramedics, according to platoon Chief Don Enns of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service. He estimates 12-14 people self-evacuated.

“This fire presented a relatively unique situation for us in that adjacent to it is a 12-storey high-rise structure,” Enns said. 

“All of the smoke from the structure, which was quite substantial, was actually blowing straight into this 12-storey high-rise.”

The adjacent high-rise building was also evacuated for precautionary concerns.

Residents in the upper floors were more exposed to the smoke, Enns said.

Manitoba Hydro’s gas division was also on hand to check the carbon monoxide levels in the taller building.

A man in fire gear stands across the street from a fire.
Platoon Chief Don Enns of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service estimates more than a dozen people self-evacuated from the two-storey building fire on Saturday. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

Winnipeg Transit has sent buses to shelter evacuees, and the city’s emergency social services team will help displaced residents find temporary accommodations.

Fire crews are expected to be in the area for most of the day.

Myron Schultz owns Wonderful World of Sheepskin on Dufferin Avenue, more than a block west of Main Street. He was driving down King Street to his business Saturday morning when he spotted the fire in the small building adjacent to the high-rise.

“I could see people. It looked like they were fleeing the building as I was approaching. And you could see flames in the building. It was quite a fire inside,” Schultz said over the phone.

Emergency crews battle a blaze.
Two aerial ladders were used by Winnipeg firefighters as they attempt to put out a structure fire on Saturday morning. (Nathan Liewicki/CBC)

He estimated that there were between 10-20 people outside the building when he drove past it, but he couldn’t tell if they had fled the building or had gathered outside to watch what was happening.

Brad Gross, a real estate agents, is selling the small apartment building, and he told CBC that it has eight units, and that either seven or eight of the units had people living in them.

This fire comes less than a month after three businesses a couple of blocks north of Saturday’s fire were destroyed by fire.

It’s hard seeing more buildings in the neighbourhood go up in flames, Schultz said.

“It’s depressing thing that’s what’s happening in the area on many levels. There’s a lot of things that are depressing what’s going on in the area, but seeing another building going down it’s concerning,” he said.

The impact to the area goes far beyond losing buildings to fires.

A hose from above sprays a building on fire.
An aerial ladder is used by fire crews to battle a fire spewing from a two-storey multi-use building on Main Street on Saturday morning. (Nathan Liewicki/CBC)

“The community structure is just disappearing. That area used to be a thriving neighbourhood not too terribly long ago, and it’s just becoming a wasteland,” Schultz said.

“And when that happens, it’ll just get worse. There’ll be nothing to hold it together.”

Enns was also on hand to battle last month’s nearby blaze.

“What is sort of sad to see is the substantial amount of damage that did occur,” he said. “It’s sort of sad for the area.”

Crews are continuing to monitor conditions in neighbouring buildings, including the adjacent high-rise apartment building.

The cause of the fire is under investigation

Watch: Drifting smoke caused problems for next door tenants