Winnipeg police say a large fire at a vacant warehouse in Point Douglas that closed streets, evacuated homes and sent a firefighter to hospital was deliberately set.
Crews were called to the blaze at the warehouse at 2 Point Douglas Ave. around 11:20 Tuesday morning and firefighters remained at the scene fighting the fire throughout the night and were still there putting hotspots out Wednesday morning.
At a Wednesday press conference police said a witness at the scene tipped off officers about a possible suspect.
They say that tip led to charges laid against a Winnipeg woman.
Kelsey Ann Thompson, 21, is charged with arson causing damage to property and two counts of mischief under $5,000.
One firefighter was injured injured fighting the fire overnight and treated at the scene while another firefighter was taken to hospital in stable condition during the day Tuesday. No other injuries have been reported.
The city has also said 10 homes near the fire were temporarily evacuated as a precaution and it’s not known when they will be able to return. The city’s emergency social services team was called to assist displaced residents in finding temporary accommodations.
Due to the size of the blaze, the city said two alarms were called Tuesday, bringing roughly 100 firefighters and 33 apparatus to the scene. Officials said firefighters took a defensive attack because the building’s structural integrity was compromised.
Police say a stationary railcar nearby carrying rail ties ignited and subsequently spread to several adjoining railcars.
On Tuesday night people with breathing conditions were advised to stay indoors and keep doors and windows closed because of the smoke.
Higgins Avenue at Point Douglas Avenue was closed, and the road closures were later expanded to Annabella Street and Sutherland Avenue. The street re-opened overnight.
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