Winnipeg house fire sent 1 to hospital

A man was sent to hospital with smoke inhalation after a fire in Winnipeg destroyed one house and damaged a second.

McMillan Avenue house fire

10 years ago
Duration 2:15
Man sent to hospital following blaze that destroyed one home and damaged a second in Winnipeg. 2:15

A man was sent to hospital with smoke inhalation after a fire in Winnipeg destroyed one house and damaged a second.

Crews were called at about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday to the corner of McMillan Avenue and Daly Street, in the city's Fort Rouge neighbourhood.

Five people made it out of the house, which was divided into suites. Four got out on their own and one — the man sent to hospital — was rescued from an upper floor by firefighters on a ladder.

"They got him down and got him medical attention and he was taken to hospital a short time later," said district fire chief Gord Carlow.

The man, Geoffrey Owen, was listed in stable condition but was released from hospital later in the morning.

He told CBC News that he woke up to find the house on fire, but he was trapped.

"When I opened up my front door [of the suite] to get out, I was hit with a wall of flames. So I had to crawl back inside," he said.

Help fund

Friends are turning to social media to raise money for three people whose home was destroyed on McMillan Avenue early Tuesday morning.

The three tenants lost everything in the fire, and one of them did not have renter's insurance, according to friends.

A Facebook group, the "Tilton Hilton Memorial Fund," has been created to encourage people to donate.

He escaped out his window and was rescued from a ledge.

The house was gutted and is a complete loss. Damage is estimated at $600,000.

A neighbouring house, a single-family residence, was also heavily damaged. The estimate is $400,000.

"They're so close together that the fire spread from one to another very quickly because of the intense heat," said Carlow.

"And it didn't take long for the second house to get going."

A third home was also threatened but firefighters were able to save it.

A nearby apartment block on Gertrude Avenue was evacuated as a precaution. Those residents were given shelter in a transit bus until they were allowed to return just before 8 a.m.

Firefighters were still soaking the scene at that time, extinguishing hot spots.

Fire happened fast

A house on McMillan Avenue was destroyed by fire on Tuesday. (Ron Dhaliwal/CBC)

Dwayne Cole, who lives nearby, said the fire happened fast.

"This thing was a ball of flames. And even with the firefighters fighting it, they couldn't, you know, the flames were just shooting out of that second one," he said.

Mike Dillabough, who lives in the home that was heavily damaged, said he woke up at 2:30 a.m. with his daughter screaming about a fire next door.

"The neighbour's house was fully engulfed in flames and our house, the wall of our house and the roof, was already on fire by the time we got out. Then we sat back you know and watched them burn," he said.

Winston the cat is held after being found inside a home that was damaged in a fire. (Wendy Buelow/CBC)

"It was amazing how quickly it spread."

The home Dillabough was in belonged to his girlfriend and was just five years old. The previous home on the lot had burned in an electrical fire.

Not long after the fire was extinguished, a gas leak was detected from a buried line.

Hydro and excavation crews were brought in to dig up the area and repair the problem.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.