WINNIPEG – Arson charges have been laid in an apartment fire that had people hanging out windows screaming for help.
Police say the incident started inside a suite at Main and Jarvis Monday night when a 45-year-old woman was allegedly assaulted by someone she knew.
She was able to flee the building. That’s when police allege the same suspect set a fire in the third floor stairwell.
Assistant Fire Chief Mark Reshaur says fire crews responded quickly and began rescuing about 20 people inside.
“Numerous ladders were put up on three sides of the building. A number of people were rescued through the windows because of the heavy smoke and heat conditions in the hallways.”
Five people were hurt – one is critical. A firefighters was also treated on scene for minor injuries.
Reshaur says fire crews have to stay focused when they arrive to a chaotic scene like this.
“When you pull up at a building that’s well-involved in fire and you’ve got people hanging out the windows and they’re all calling for help and there’s smoke coming out those windows, you are afraid for everybody’s life and you’re afraid for them all simultaneously. You have to make a very conscious effort to take a step back, assess the entire situation at prioritize how you’re going to allocate your resources. The men and women who responded to that fire last night did an excellent job of just that,” he said.
A 26-year-old man is charged with assault, choke to overcome resistance, arson – disregard life, arson – property, possess incendiary materials, four counts of fail to comply with recognizance and fail to comply probation.
Damage is estimated at $200,000.
*Photos courtesy of Ken Spicer