Downtown Winnipeg apartment fire

Downtown Winnipeg apartment fire, Vladimir Volenyuk

A residential fire is always a scary and dangerous thing, people might get hurt or killed, especially children and elderly citizens since they are not able to react fast and evacuate the building by themselves.

A residential fire occurred at a 17-storey building in the 500-block of St. Mary Avenue, approximately at 2:40 p.m.

Firefighters found the blaze on the 14th floor and called for backup, declaring it a two-alarm fire. Rescue crews were able to contain the fire to a single suite, declaring it under control half an hour after arriving. The suite suffered serious damage from the flames, as well as from smoke and water.

Residents on three floors were evacuated as crews battled the fire, and the lone occupant of the affected suite was sent to a hospital in unstable condition.

Just last week, January 21st a big residential fire occurred in one of the buildings on Maryland Street. Firefighters were called, once crews entered the three-story building, they were forced to leave and move to a defensive attack. One nearby home was evacuated as a precaution. Crews were on scene well into the evening and used the WFPS drone to assist in fighting the fire.

Unfortunately, residential fires in Winnipeg happen quite often, but unlike in this case, caused by the electrical problem, many of those fires caused by residents, who in many cases were under drug influence at a time of incidents.

According to the company, which manages both facilities, two large fires in apartments in Winnipeg`s the West End were caused by drug use.

“Both of these fires were drug-related,” said Mike Romani, president of Armor, a company that manages 626 Ellice Avenue and 426 Maryland Street. Romani says he believes that one of the fires was specifically related to the use of methamphetamine.

“Both fires began with the burning of the couch,” he said. “Both tenants organized parties in apartments, and according to reports, they [set fire] to couches.”

Dozens of people still have no shelter after these fires. One building was completely freed from tenants and in the other, there are several apartments that need to be renovated.

Romani said it was not the first fire started by someone who used drugs, but this is a rapidly growing problem.

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