Firefighters battle apartment blaze through freezing temperatures in Thompson, Man. – Manitoba

No one was injured after a fire broke out at a Thompson, Man. apartment block Saturday.

Fire crews were called to the blaze at a suite in a three-storey apartment building at 45 Ashberry Place around 5:20 p.m.

Thompson Fire Department Chief John Maskerine says heavy smoke and flames were pouring out of a window of an apartment on the third floor when firefighters arrived.

“We had to advance lines up into the interior and made sure everybody was out of the building,” explained Maskerine, who says firefighters were able to keep the fire contained to the one suite.

The roughly 45 residents of the building were able to keep warm in an apartment block across the street while crews battled the blaze in the -28 C temperatures that Environment Canada says would have felt like -40 with the wind chill.

Those frigid temperatures are hard on crews, says Maskerine.

“It slows us up a little bit,” he said. “And we’ve got to keep a good eye on them because we like to rehab them as fast as possible, to get them back into a warm place.

“You’ll always have problems in this weather with hose lines freezing up, or your regulators on your breathing apparatus freezing… but tonight we didn’t have them problems, everything worked well and we were in and out of there in a short period of time.”

Manitoba Red Cross was put on standby in case the fire spread and the residents would need a warm place to stay overnight, but Maskerine says most were able to return to their suites and those who couldn’t were able to find places to stay in the community.

“By the time we got it all sorted out, everybody was looked after through the community with relatives and friends,” said Maskerine. “So we’ve got nobody out in the streets and nobody’s homeless tonight.”

Maskerine says the fire appears to have started in a kitchen in the suite but the cause is still under investigation.

Damage is estimated at more than $100,000, he added.

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