Manitoba

1 person dead after house fire on Polson Avenue

One person is dead after a house fire quickly ripped through a home on Polson Avenue Sunday afternoon.

Neighbour saw '6-foot flames shooting out of the basement'

Submitted by Ben Sanlikowski 0:48

One person is dead after a house fire quickly ripped through a home on Polson Avenue Sunday afternoon. 

Fire crews were called to a house explosion at 2:15 p.m., and they found the home already engulfed. 

"We managed to find one occupant and remove them. They're deceased," said Gordon Cannell, district fire chief and incident commander. "At this time we don't know the cause of the explosion or the fire." 

Firefighters survey the damage after the fire. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

Cannell said the person's age and gender are not known. 

The other occupants of the house have been accounted for, he said. 

"The whole house is a total loss, and we don't have a dollar value right now," Cannell said. 

"Because of the high humidity and high temperature it's been an issue, so we've rotated the crews through and made sure they were hydrated. It looks like we're going to be on scene for a while yet." 

Cannell said the houses to either side were damaged. No one was injured but they were evacuated, he said. 

'Like a bolt of lightening'

Neighbours CBC News spoke to all said they heard a loud bang right before the fire started.

A large front bay window could be seen unburned and lying roughly three metres in front of the home.

Dave Kitchen lives two doors down from home and says he heard what sounded "like a bolt of lightening" right before the fire started.

He says the flames were so big they were hitting the sidewalk when he went out to see what had happened.

"There was some guys trying to break into the house to open the door, and they couldn't… the flames were too intense," he said.

"It was just all black smoke everywhere."

A home on Polson Avenue was completely destroyed by an explosion that left flames in its wake Sunday afternoon. (Chris Stanton/CBC)

Neighbour Ben Sanlikowski was having an afternoon nap when his wife woke him up to see the huge fire across the street. 

"The walls on both the east and west side of the house were blown right out, so I'm assuming it was an explosion," Sanlikowski said.

"We just watched the fire. When most of it was out, you could see about, maybe oh six foot flames coming out of the basement ... quite a large flame, they were pouring water but it wasn't going out.

"It burned all the grass, the front yard lawn is burned right to the street. It was extremely hot."

Vlad Szwaluk, who lives nearby on Polson Avenue, saw the flames from his home and ran across the street with another neighbour to see if they could help.

"By the time I got there, there [were] no windows and flames were shooting out the windows," he said.

"It was pretty much in flames... we ran up pretty close, but there was nothing we could do."

Szwaluk was able to rescue a dog from inside the west-side neighbour's house.

Winnipeg police said they would release more details on Monday. 

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With files from Tessa Vanderhart and Shane Gibson