A stretch of St. Mary's Road was closed Sunday afternoon and some residents in the 400 block of the street were asked to leave the area while fire crews battled a blaze in an industrial building.
The fire started around 11 a.m., according to a City of Winnipeg spokesperson. Crews were seen busting windows out of the building, located at 449 St. Mary's Rd, as flames engulfed the structure.
As a result of the fire on St. Mary's Rd. & due to safety concerns, area residents are being evacuated. Thank-you for your cooperation.— @wpgpolice
Traffic on St. Mary's between Vivian Avenue and Carriere Avenue was being diverted by cadets and Winnipeg police officers for hours in the afternoon.
Officers & Cadets continue to divert traffic north & southbound St. Mary's Rd. between Vivian Ave. & Carriere Ave. due to fire. Thanks!— @wpgpolice
The building was home to renovations business El Dorado Trading Centre. Signs for Play All Awards Inc., a trophy store that used to operate out of the building, remain on the outside of the business.
Acting fire platoon Chief Morris Semkowski said the owners bought the building 14 years ago and never changed the signs.
Two people were in the building when the blaze broke out, but both got out safely and uninjured.
'It was pretty intense'
Drew Bouchard, 27, lives a block away and witnessed smoke billowing out from the building Sunday.
"I was sitting in my room watching a movie and my friend texted me to say, 'Did you burn down the neighbourhood or something?' I'm going, 'What are you talking about?'" he said.
"I went out there and saw the front yard covered in ash."
Bouchard said the smell of smoke was so strong it filled his house.
"It was just flames barreling out of the front — you could feel the heat all the way across the street," he said. "It was pretty intense."
Tim Woodcock, owner of Woodcock Cycle Works, said the smoke has made its way into his shop, which is just one block away from the home renovations building. He sent his employees home and closed the shop for the day.
At first, crews believed there were hazardous chemicals in the single-storey structure, but the city spokesperson noted that was not the case and no chemicals were in the building.
Fire crews asked that residents in the area keep their windows closed until the scene was cleared.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.