‘Huge risk’ two-alarm fire quickly controlled at Winnipeg’s St. Boniface Hospital

By | May 16, 2020

A two-alarm fire at St. Boniface Hospital was swiftly put out before endangering patients and staff on Saturday evening, according to the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.

Platoon Chief Don Enns said crews were called to a fire at the rear of the hospital on Tache Avenue around 6:45 p.m.

It was escalated to a two-alarm response due to the high-risk situation, which Enns said doubled the number of first responders and vehicles at the scene.

“This represents a huge risk, a high-risk occupancy,” he said.

“That said, while every fire is incredibly important and every fire is incredibly dangerous, this is one that really could have a huge impact upon us, especially now in our time of the [COVID-19] pandemic.”

Crews managed to extinguish the flames outside the building before going inside.

Fire caused extensive damage to this garage located behind the St. Boniface Hospital. (Ezra Belotte-Cousineau/CBC-Radio Canada)

In a news release issued late Saturday evening, a City of Winnipeg spokesperson said the fire was under control just moments after 7 p.m.

Enns said the fire started on the exterior of two garages, used to store building materials and supplies, belonging to the hospital’s carpentry department.

Heavy black smoke entered a research building south of the fire by getting “sucked up” into the exhaust system and travelled a “good distance” throughout the building, he said, adding there was no public safety concern.

There were no evacuations, no hospital staff or patients were impacted as a result of the fire, and no injuries were reported.

A fire that started on the exterior of garages behind St. Boniface Hospital has left damage to the building, windows and some offices. (Ezra Belotte-Cousineau/CBC-Radio Canada)

Enns said the extent of damage is expected to be “relatively high” due to impact to the building’s windows and offices.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

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