Crews fight raging garage fires in Winnipeg

Fire crews fought roaring flames at the scene of multiple garage fires in Winnipeg's West End on Friday.

Fire crews fought roaring flames at the scene of multiple garage fires in Winnipeg's West End on Friday.

Two adjacent garages, a double and a single, were destroyed. Raging flames and heavy smoke spiralled from the area soon after the fires broke out around 8 a.m. in the lane between Maryland and Sherbrook streets.

The flames shot about five metres into the air at times, causing a pole-top hydro transformer box to spark.

Fires in two garages were the result of arson, investigators say. (CBC)

A handful of roads were blocked, including Maryland and Sherbrook between Ellice and St. Matthews avenues.

As a result, morning traffic was backed up for several blocks along Portage Avenue.

The fires were put out just after 9 a.m. and the roads reopened.

Damage is estimated at $30,000 for both fires.

Investigators have determined the blazes were the result of arson.

An official with the fire department said back lanes can attract fire bugs, especially in the summer months.

"Everybody is outside, they are enjoying the weather and with that activity with the younger ones around they can take chances [and] get bored," Marc Proulx, the fire department's public education co-ordinator said Friday.

Proulx added that discarded items, such as mattresses, can be an attractive target for someone looking to start a fire.

A special effort has been underway, following a spike in arson cases last summer, to try and keep back lanes cleared of large combustible items that have been thrown away.