People who live in Winnipeg's Elm Park neighbourhood are shocked after a fire heavily damaged the "heart" of their community.

Windsor fire

An exterior electric panel at Windsor Community Centre on Thursday morning shows damage from the fire. (Meaghan Ketcheson/CBC)

The blaze, which broke out just after 9 p.m. Wednesday, caused $500,000 in damage to the Windsor Community Centre.

Jackie Hanna, president of community centre, said no one was in the building at the time. The kids’ programs that are held there had wrapped up at 4:30 p.m.

The centre offers an outdoor hockey rink, woodworking programs, a craft room, day care and canteen. The fire damage means it will be shut down for some time.

"We're a pretty big-base community club. We have a big heart in this neighbourhood [and] the community club is busy most of the time," said Hanna.

Jackie Hanna

Jackie Hanna, president of the community centre, said the fire is "a bit of a kick in the pants" for the busy clubhouse. (Meaghan Ketcheson/CBC)

"So it's a bit of a kick in the pants."

Investigators believe the fire may have started in the basement.

No one was hurt but the smoke and water damage is extensive.

"It's really heartbreaking," said Joanna Plater, who lives in the area. "We're a small centre and people have worked incredibly hard to make it financially viable. It's the heart of our community."

Jay Kuipers, who also lives near the centre, said the fire will have a big impact on the neighbourhood.

"Everybody you know really comes together at this community centre, so I think the impact will reach out," he said.

A note posted on the community centre's website stated:

We appreciate all the concern from so many kind people about our beloved club. Right now we can tell you that no one was hurt, and that it looks like the fire started in a basement electrical panel. We will be keeping you posted on our Facebook page as we know more. A huge thank you to all the wonderful emergency personnel who were on the scene tonight.