Transcona blaze renews firefighters' concerns about new homes
House on Ed Golding Bay was 3 years old, says firefighters' union
A stubborn house fire in Winnipeg's Transcona neighbourhood yesterday has the city's firefighters' union highlighting the dangers of homes built in the past decade.
The fire broke out shortly after 1 p.m. Monday on Ed Golding Bay, near the eastern end of Pandora Avenue.
By the time firefighters arrived, the blaze was already flashing over, said Alex Forrest, president of the United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg.
Crews were at the scene of the fire all afternoon and well into the night.
The house is a total loss, and damages are estimated at $400,000, according to city officials. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.
Forrest said houses built in the last 10 years tend to burn quickly and pose hazards for fire crews, noting that the house in the Ed Golding Bay fire was three years old.
"When we have a fire in a new home construction, these houses go into inferno within five to eight minutes," he told CBC News on Tuesday.
"Whereas in downtown, where we have older, wood-based houses, we have 15 minutes where we can get in, get rescues and get out."
Forrest said firefighters have been lobbying the federal government over the past eight years to get national building codes changed.
"We're just trying to get a voice on these building committees to try and say, 'Hey, these houses [that are] being built, they may be cheaper — like, there's no squeaking and anything — but they're literally fire traps when there's fires,'" he said.
Forrest added that most of the products being used to build houses these days are composites that contain a lot of glues and plastics, exposing firefighters to toxic chemicals when those materials are burning.
"There's very little wood that goes into modern houses nowadays, except in the external facade of the house," he said.
With files from the CBC's Meaghan Ketcheson