The R.M. of MacDonald Fire Department responded to a structure fire on McGillivray Boulevard around 1:30 pm on Wednesday, June 30, 2021.
The fire started at a pool company that had chemicals on sight. Black smoke could be seen billowing into the sky from several kilometres away.
Firefighters were called in from Headingley, Morris and the City of Winnipeg to help battle the blaze.
According to R.M. of MacDonald Fire Chief Mike Siemens, the fire was being fed from a natural gas line that could not be shut off at the usual source. Hydro crews were on scene well into the evening attempting to shut off the gas. Specialized equipment was brought in to dig down to the gas main which took time, prolonging the fire.
Over the course of the evening, the fire extended to other units in the complex that included a gymnastics facility and a metal fabrication business.
Dozens of onlookers descended on the area directly across from the fire scene as the thick black smoke wafted over them from time to time. They seemed unaware of the toxins contained within the smoke.
Drone footage showed that the fire had spread to the entire complex by early evening with large sections of the roof collapsing. Crews continued to battle the blaze into the early morning hours of Thursday, July 1.
McGillivray was shut to traffic in both directions around the fire scene as firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze.
Chief Siemens told News 4 that the cause of the fire is under investigation. Members of the Office of the Fire Commissioner spent several hours at the site while the fire was still raging.
More details on this story as they become available.
— with files from Keegan Driedger
© News4.ca 2021