Manitoba

Owner of hardware store destroyed in Crystal City fire says he plans to rebuild

The owner of a hardware store that was destroyed in a grain elevator explosion and fire in Crystal City, Man., says there's little left of his business but the safe.

Fire crews have been at scene of the fire since it broke out Monday evening, fire chief says

A fire in Crystal City, Man., Monday evening reduced a grain elevator to ash and severely damaged a hardware store. Some residents in the area were also forced to leave their homes. (Riley Laychuk/CBC )

The owner of a hardware store that was destroyed in a grain elevator explosion and fire in Crystal City, Man., says there's little left of his business but the safe.

But Melvin Doerksen says he hopes to rebuild. 

Doerksen was in Cudmore Bros. Hardware, his store in the village about 155 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg, when the elevator next door caught fire around 6 p.m. Monday night.

At first, he wasn't worried about his own business, but soon started to smell smoke.

"There was embers flowing and they were putting fire out here and there and everywhere. And we were providing the water there from our store too," he said.

"And all at once I went in the store and I smelled something. Looked at the lights and they are smoking here."

The Crystal City, Man., elevator caught fire around 6 p.m. Monday. (Submitted/Kaylene Pryor)

Doerksen took over the business in 2002 with his family. He said he's spoken with his insurer and believes he can rebuild.

"It's a quite an upheaval to know what to do, where to go," he said.

For now, he said he hopes to set up a temporary store in another building.

Fire crews on scene round the clock 

Fire crews have been on scene since the fire broke out Monday evening, said Brant Melvin, one of the fire chiefs for the RM of Louise who responded to the blaze.

The fire had engulfed the elevator by the time firefighters arrived, he said.

"At that point, there was almost nothing we could do," he said.

"We focused on trying to contain it from other buildings catching fire."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The fire had fully taken over the elevator by the time firefighers arrived, said Brant Melvin, one of the fire chiefs for the RM of Louise. (Riley Laychuk/CBC )

Marge Fallis lives near the elevator and saw the flames from her house.

They were so big, she says she could feel the heat from inside her home.

At one point, she saw a large chunk of the elevator that was ablaze fall to the ground.

"I thought maybe I'd had it," she said.

She was told to leave her home by firefighters soon after and has been staying with friends.

One man who was working in the elevator was injured during the massive fire.

The 31-year old is being treated in a Winnipeg hospital for burns.

With files from Riley Laychuk 

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