Blaze guts building on Winnipeg's Main Street, forces road closures

A three-storey building on Main Street was severely damaged by a stubborn fire Tuesday morning. 

No one was inside boarded-up 3-storey building, which is expected to be total loss: City of Winnipeg

Smoke billows from a building on Main Street near Jarvis Avenue after a fire broke out Tuesday morning. (Meaghan Ketcheson/CBC)

A three-storey building on Winnipeg's Main Street was severely damaged by a stubborn fire Tuesday morning. 

Fire crews responded to the blaze around 12:30 a.m., the City of Winnipeg said, and police closed both north and southbound lanes of Main Street from Selkirk Avenue to Higgins Avenue.

As of Tuesday evening, southbound Main remained closed at Selkirk Avenue, with traffic being rerouted.

Northbound lanes reopened around 7 a.m.

The fire started in Pawndora's Box pawn shop at 808 Main St., police said, before spreading south to the three-storey building at 802 Main St., which was boarded up.

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Deputy Chief Tom Wallace said the building at 802 Main became the focus of the firefighting efforts. The fire gutted the structure and some walls were beginning to collapse earlier in the day, Wallace said. 

Crews had brought the fire under control just after noon Tuesday, but the building is expected to be a complete loss. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, a news release from the City of Winnipeg said. There was no one in the building at the time of the fire, the city said, and no injuries have been reported.

A police officer on scene Tuesday afternoon told CBC News that firefighters were worried the building, which is over 100 years old, isn't structurally sound and were waiting for engineers to arrive to determine next steps. 

Firefighters and police were still on scene at around 4:30 p.m. 

Firefighters use ladder trucks behind the buildings on Main Street near Jarvis Avenue. (Meaghan Ketcheson/CBC)

Another building a couple of doors down was evacuated due to smoke, Wallace said Tuesday morning.

"We were able to get them [residents] back into the building a short time ago with the help of emergency social services to retrieve some pets and medications and personal belongings."

A Winnipeg Transit bus was brought in to give people shelter, and the city's emergency social services team was sent to help displaced residents find other places to stay.

The hot weather made the firefighters' job harder, Wallace said.

"Early this morning, it was very warm and humid out. Our safety officer and our incident commander pay close attention to our firefighters' time on task, and ensure they're recycled and changed out on a regular basis to hydrate and cool and rest."

Firefighters battle large blaze on Main Street

1 month ago
Fire crews were kept busy this morning fighting a massive blaze on Main Street. The fire started in Pawndora's Box pawn shop before spreading south to the three-storey building which was boarded up. 1:27

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With files from Meaghan Ketcheson and Austin Grabish