Members of Brandon Fire and Emergency Services received their biggest call of the year so far on Monday afternoon, when the Inland Kenworth building at 1240 Highland Ave. caught fire.
BFES responded to this incident at 1:42 p.m. and witnessed considerable smoke and flames coming out of the garage portion of the business once they arrived on the scene.
Unfortunately, firefighters had to contend with water supply issues from the very start, with the closest fire hydrant to the burning structure being frozen.
Because of this, BFES was forced to run a hose from the other side of the Trans-Canada Highway, effectively closing off local traffic between 18th Street and First Street.
After a firm water supply was finally established, several explosions rocked the building and sent green and yellow smoke into the sky.
"I’m not sure what the origin of that was," Capt. Shayne Collister told the Sun on Tuesday. "There were some flammable liquids and gases and acetylene torches and what have you inside. I’m not sure if that was the cause of it, but I know there were some materials inside."
Collister went on to say that BFES ended up using a city backhoe to separate the garage portion of the business from the office area, in an attempt to minimize the damage as much as possible.
However, BFES wouldn’t get the majority of the fire extinguished until 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., with several firefighters sticking around to put out hot spots until around midnight.
"We had people up there all night just monitoring it just to make sure there were no flare-ups," said Collister.
Even though this fire completely devastated Brandon’s Inland Kenworth branch, general manager Bryan Johnson confirmed that nobody was hurt in the blaze, since the office was closed for Louis Riel Day.
Right now, Johnson revealed that he and his team are currently searching for a temporary location that they can operate out of locally for the next year to 18 months.
"Honestly, we’re hoping to be back up and running in two weeks," he said on Tuesday.
A spokesperson for the Manitoba Office of the Fire Commissioner confirmed on Tuesday that the cause of the fire, and cost of the damage, is still yet to be determined.
» firstname.lastname@example.org, with files from Drew May
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