Man charged with arson after apartment fire in West End Winnipeg

Four police officers were treated for smoke inhalation and a man in his 60s was arrested and charged with arson after a fire in Winnipeg’s West End Thursday night.

Emergency crews were called to a two-storey building on Sargent Avenue, near Toronto Street, around 9:30 p.m. Several fire trucks, a half-dozen police cars and ambulances blocked the intersection.

Police were told a man set the fire in one of the suites and barricaded himself inside, and was possibly armed with a weapon, according to a Friday news release from the police service.

Officers went into the building — an apartment block with businesses on the main level —  and broke through a barricaded basement suite where the fire had started. They found the man inside, armed with a pipe, according to the release.

He dropped the pipe after being ordered to do so and was taken into custody, police said.

About a dozen people were forced out of the building due to the fire and given temporary shelter inside a Winnipeg Transit bus while fire crews extinguished the flames.

Police cars, ambulances and fire trucks are parked on a snowy street at night, their coloured lights flashing off buildings.
Multiple emergency vehicles clog the intersection of Sargent Avenue and Toronto Street during a fire on Thursday night. (Justin Fraser/CBC)

The four police officers were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and the man now accused of starting the fire was sent to hospital in stable condition as a precautionary measure, police said.

He is now facing a charge of arson with disregard for human life.

The fire was contained to the suite and declared under control within minutes after firefighters arrived, a news release from the city states. Damage estimates are not yet available. 

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