‘Total loss’: 3 Winnipeg businesses destroyed in large fire on Main Street

By News Staff

Three Winnipeg business are a “total loss” after being destroyed in a blaze on Main Street near Jarvis Avenue early Saturday morning.

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service crews were called to the scene of the fire – the Surplus Direct store – around 2 a.m.

Crews say they were met with heavy smoke and flames coming from the burning building.

WFPS could not prevent the flames from spreading to adjacent buildings.

“Because the buildings are totally adjoining one another and connected, the fire did move through the roof line and extended to both buildings on either side,” said Scott Wilkinson, assistant chief with the WFPS.

“Three separate occupancies but they share walls and roof line, which caused the fire to extend.”

The three businesses are Surplus Direct, Top Pro Roofing and Lord Selkirk Furniture. Wilkinson says all three buildings will be a “total loss.”

“These are definitely historical locations these businesses,” said Wilkinson. “Surplus Direct, Lord Selkirk Furniture as you saw, they’ve been long-standing tenants on this section. It’s disappointing to see this kind of damage to these buildings.

“Our crews did everything they could to try and prevent that, but it’s been a very challenging night.”

Multiple homes evacuated 

Firefighters had to evacuate “12-15 people” from 15 homes on Austin Street North and a three-storey apartment building on Main Street as a precaution “due to heavy smoke conditions,” Wilkinson said.

Displaced residents took temporary shelter inside a bus provided by Winnipeg Transit. Residents remained out of their homes by early afternoon.

“It’s too bad and I’m glad that nobody got hurt,” said resident Cecil Prince. “And everybody’s safe and everybody’s away in the distance. They had to evacuate people, that apartment block there, and I have a lot of friends that live there and I’m glad that they’re all safe and happy.

“It’s too bad that it happened. That was a beautiful building. That company was selling paints and brushes and stuff like that. Those were good men that worked there.”

Crews battled the blaze using aerial ladders, dousing the fire with water from above. Firefighters also used a WFPS drone to gain an aerial view of the fire.

A “significant portion” of WFPS resources were on hand to battle the blaze. Wilkinson said there were more than 50 personnel on site earlier Saturday.

Three firefighters sustained minor injuries and paramedics transported them to hospital in stable condition.

“Minor injuries incurred on the exterior of the building… we’ll find out more after,” said Wilkinson.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

There will be significant impacts to traffic on Main Street between Jarvis Avenue and Euclid Avenue in both directions as emergency crew battle the blaze.

Residents and drivers are asked to avoid the area.

—With files from Temi Olatunde

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