WINNIPEG —; A Winnipeg fire captain is grappling with the decision to send firefighters into a raging blaze to save the lives of two sisters.
Rob Labossiere was facing one of the most dangerous fires of his 26-year career with the Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service.
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It started at a housing development under construction in Wolseley but quickly spread to two neighbouring homes.
Two sisters were trapped inside one of them.
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Even though the fire was quickly engulfing the home, Labossiere sent in a crew to rescue them.“The way the flames were rolling out of the place, they were rolling across the front porch, the walls on that building were at risk of falling … and the guys still went in under those orders.”
Four firefighters who went into the home suffered injuries including three who came out with second degree burns.
“We were asking our members, firefighters, to risk their lives, so as an officer when we make those decisions, we’re forcing those guys to basically put their lives on the line,” said Labossiere.
The two sisters were both taken hospital but were quickly released.
“It’s not one to take lightly because they all have families that they have to go to and…It was a risk we needed to take,” said a visibly emotional Labossiere.
Labossiere said the fire that broke out early Saturday morning at Maryland St. and Westminster Ave. was one of the hottest he’s ever seen.
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All of the firefighters are currently on leave, recovering from their physical injuries and dealing with the psychological aftermath.
“After the event is where I think these things would start to pile up on you, when you’re mentally thinking about things and probably that’s what our guys are going through right now,” said acting Lieutenant Robert Campbell with the Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service.
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The fire was so hot a bus shelter and a sign on a church, both across the street, melted.
Damage is estimated at $4.5 million and police say the fire is suspicious.
They haven’t’ officially labelled it arson but are looking for two suspects spotted fleeing from the scene just before the fire started.