One man was sent to hospital with possible life-threatening injuries and the more than 100 residents of Hobbs Manor were evacuated from their apartments after a fire broke out in an apartment Saturday morning.
A black stain above a fourth floor window remained as a result of a blaze in an apartment on the north side of the six-storey independent living retirement home at the corner of 15th Street and Lorne Avenue.
The man who sustained burns was able to walk out of the building on his own, one witness said. However, police said after he was sent to the Brandon Regional Health Centre, he was transported to Winnipeg with serious injuries.
The fire started in the elderly man’s apartment, but the cause is still under investigation.
Police, firefighters and paramedics responded to the fire around 8:30 a.m. and three city buses were parked nearby on standby in case the residents were evacuated, as per the building’s emergency plan.
Residents were not evacuated from the building. They were sent to a common area on the ground floor while firefighters were able to rid the building of smoke, which was localized to one half of the fourth floor. Police said some people had to be carried from their apartments to the main floor.
Emergency crews blocked off 15th Street to traffic for a few hours following the call.
Bea Caldwell, an 87-year-old resident on the second storey, said her floor wasn’t affected by the smoke, but the smell still lingered on Saturday afternoon and some were using towels over their mouths when walking around the building.
"People were fairly calm," Caldwell said, "we were well looked after."
Manor staff and the Salvation Army were on hand to serve coffee, tea and sandwiches to those waiting to see if they’d be able to get back into their apartments.
Most people were back in their apartments by early afternoon.
"It was quite a morning," Caldwell said. "I’m so sorry someone had to go to the hospital, that’s too bad."
Building manager Shirley Durnin said residents of the 100-suite building were able to evacuate quickly.
"It all went according to (the emergency) plan," she said. "Most people are fine and that’s all we can ask for."