Manitoba

Arson team probes rooming house fire

Arson investigators are sifting the scorched remains of another Winnipeg rooming house.
White firefighting foam contrasts the blackened walls of a rooming house that caught fire in Winnipeg on Wednesday. (Meaghan Ketcheson/CBC)

Arson investigators are sifting the scorched remains of another Winnipeg rooming house.

A fire at 832 McDermot Avenue, in the city's West Alexander neighbourhood, broke out just before 4 a.m. on Wednesday. There were between seven and nine suites in the residence but no one was hurt, according to fire officials.

And while neighbours told CBC News they are thankful for that, they are also relieved the house will now have to be torn down. They called it a hub of criminal activity, including drugs and prostitution.

One neighbour, who asked to only be identified as Ed, said the house was never quiet.

"People were coming and going all hours of the day and night," he said. "There was maybe 50, 60 people coming and going."

At about 4 a.m. he said, he heard the sound of a crash and the screech of car tires.

When he looked outside, he said, "the whole front of the house was totally engulfed in flames. There was sparks flying, debris, ashes, everything." That's when he called 911, he said.

The fire comes a few weeks after five people died in a rooming house fire at 288 Austin St. N. in Winnipeg's Point Douglas neighbourhood.

Lulonda Lynn Flett, 40, is facing five counts of second-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder in connection with the July 16 blaze.

Eight adults were inside the rooming house at the time the 2 a.m. fire broke out. Six were taken to hospital in critical condition and five later died.