Fire at historic McKenzie Seeds building in downtown Brandon causes only minor damage

Smoke poured out of a vacant seed packing facility in Brandon, Man., Wednesday night after a fire broke out on the building’s third floor, but the damage was relatively minor, a fire department official says.

The McKenzie Seeds building, on Ninth Street in the southwestern Manitoba city’s downtown, has been vacant for several years.

The structure has provincial historical designation.

Firefighters responded to a call about smoke coming out of the fifth floor of the building around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, Brandon Fire Department Capt. Shayne Collister told CBC News.

Responding firefighters found a small fire on the third floor. They quickly extinguished the fire, he said.

The fire caused minor damage to a wood wall. The damage estimate is around $1,000, he said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, said Brandon Fire Department Capt. Shayne Collister. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Collister said it likely started in a small pile of rubbish.

The McKenzie Seeds building — also known as the A. E. McKenzie building — is sometimes used by people seeking shelter during the daytime, Collister said, but nobody was found in the building during the incident.

Construction of the McKenzie Seeds building started in 1910, and it was the tallest building in Brandon until the 11-storey Scotia Towers was built downtown in 1973, according to the Manitoba Historical Society. The building received heritage designation from the Manitoba government in 1996.

The building was sold to developers from British Columbia and there was a plan in place to renovate it into a condo building in 2011, the historical society says, but that plan never came to fruition.

The Brandon Sun reported that the building was put up for sale last February.

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