West End house ‘a complete loss’ after morning fire in Winnipeg

The smell of smoke wafted through parts of central Winnipeg Thursday morning as crews fought a house fire in the West End.

Multiple fire trucks were called to a home on Banning Street, just off Wellington Avenue, around 5:30 a.m. Thursday.

Large sections of the roof collapsed on the 2½-storey house as firefighters could be seen directing water at the flames, from the ground as well as from above.

“An offensive attack was initially launched but due to deteriorating conditions, crews were forced to exit the building and transition to a defensive fire attack,” a news release from the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service said.

The fire was declared under control at 9:30 a.m., although crews are expected to remain at the scene well into the afternoon as they work to fully extinguish all hot spots.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, and no damage estimates are available at this time, but the unoccupied house suffered significant fire, smoke and water damage and is considered a complete loss, the release said.

Firefighters attack the flames from the street as well as from an aerial bucket. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

Sarah Crawley, who lives next door to the house, called 911 after the sounds of the fire woke her husband up. The couple’s bedroom window faces the house that was burning.

“It was engulfed. Flames were shooting out the back of the house,” Crawley said.

Crawley and her husband, John Ervin, said the house was vacant and in the process of being renovated.

There had been a pile of wood debris in the backyard, and Ervin said he’s been worried someone might set it ablaze. 

“And when I woke up, I said ‘It’s happening,'” he said. “When I came out, I could see the whole back part of the house on fire.”

The couple had to leave their house as crews fought the fire and were worried about flames leaping over to their rooftop.

A large section of the roof is missing at the rear of the house. (Meaghan Ketcheson/CBC)

But Crawley said firefighters went in to check and let the couple know there didn’t appear to be any fire damage inside, although they will likely have water in the basement.

“We haven’t been allowed to cross the lines to see the side of our house that is next to the house that burned,” Crawley said.

“I’m incredibly grateful that my husband woke up [and] that we had our window open so we heard the fire before it got too far.”

Banning remains closed between Notre Dame and Wellington avenues. The city’s traffic management centre posted on Twitter that the street will likely remain closed for an extended period of time.

The public is being asked to avoid the area and use alternative routes.

More news from CBC Manitoba:

View original article here Source