It was a frightening morning Thursday for residents of a retirement home in the city's North End. 

Shortly after 1 a.m., fire crews responded to reports of a fire in the St. Josaphat Selo-Villa on McGregor Street, an eight-storey high-rise for residents aged 55+.

The fire left many residents trapped in the building due to heavy smoke, leading to multiple 9-1-1 calls. Meanwhile, several other residents with disabilities were stranded in their suites as they required help evacuating. 

When crews arrived at the scene, they found heavy smoke and flames coming from the building. Firefighters entered the building to fight the fire and initiate rescues of those trapped in their suites. Some residents were assisted down the stairs by firefighters. Others were rescued from exterior windows using ground ladders. An aerial ladder firetruck was used to help extinguish the fire.

Due to the potential for high life hazards, a second alarm was called, which increased the number of crews on scene.

Paramedics assessed approximately 25 residents. Six patients were transported to hospital by ambulance, all in stable condition.  

The fire was declared under control at 2:09 a.m., with most of the fire damage contained to a third-floor suite. Several other areas of the building sustained smoke and water damage.

The City of Winnipeg’s Emergency Social Services team was also deployed to the scene to assist approximately 15 displaced residents in finding temporary accommodations.

Damage estimates are not available at this time. Preliminary observations suggest the fire was accidental, caused by an electrical issue.