Investigators believe an early-morning house fire in Portage la Prairie to be suspicious.

The initial investigation has determined that the fire started on the porch, which police say was previously observed to contain a large amount of garbage.

The building was a multi-unit structure, with several units housing different families. It took firefighters more than three hours to put out the blaze, and all occupants managed to safely evacuate the building.

The investigation is ongoing with the assistance of the Office of the Fire Commissioner. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Portage RCMP at 204-857-4445, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477, or secure tip online at