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Flames engulf a large home in St. Norbert on Monday. (Meaghan Ketcheson/CBC)

A family in St. Norbert, Man., is dealing with the loss of their home in a ferocious fire that began early Monday morning.

A couple and their adult son escaped without injury from the home on Minerva Avenue, just south of the Perimeter Highway but still within Winnipeg city limits.

Firefighters began attacking the blaze at about 6:15 a.m. CT but soon realized it was a losing battle.

The flames were so intense, crews decided to let the home burn. They went into defensive mode and called all crews to get out of the structure.

By 7:30 a.m. they began setting up a collapse zone — creating a perimeter around the structure, and keeping everyone out, to allow the home to fall.

'It's hard to take,' says homeowner

The home belonged to Bikram Brar, who had lived there with his wife and son for more than 25 years.

"It looks like a total loss. They're taking the house down there," Brar told CBC News on Monday afternoon, when they came back to see what was left of the home.

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Crews hose down what is left of a home that burned in St. Norbert, just south of Winnipeg, on Monday. (Meaghan Ketcheson/CBC)

"It's hard to take, very hard."

Brar said his family lost everything in the fire, and they are staying with friends for the time being.

Fire platoon chief Jim Zaborniak said the blaze started in the garage and spread to the attic space of the residence.

The location of the house was challenging for firefighters because it is out of the water district, he added. As a result, firefighters had to bring in a 3,000-gallon tanker truck.

The fire commissioner's office and the Winnipeg Police Service's arson strike force have determined that the cause of the fire was accidental, police announced late Monday.

Damage to the home is estimated at more than $400,000, according to police.


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