It was one of the biggest fires in recent memory as a blaze gutted the city-owned old GM plant on Winnipeg Street Tuesday night.
Investigators were on scene of the charred mess Wednesday, trying to figure out the cause.
“We will go through that process, it’s a thorough and detailed process, no results to speak of right now, but those will be coming,” confirmed Regina fire Chief Layne Jackson.
The blaze began just before 10 p.m. By the time the first fire crew arrived the flames could be seen ripping into the sky and there was no choice but to approach it in a defensive manner.
“That meant we set up large water towers and hose streams and attacked that fire from the exterior at the beginning,” Jackson explained.
It took several hours and seven units – a grand total of 30 firefighters – to get the blaze under control. Hot spots were still being doused the following morning.
It was made even more complicated because of a house fire in east Regina at the exact same time.
“I can’t say enough about our fire crews and firefighters,” Jackson said. “They really stood up and delivered for us.”
The old GM building which was roughly two blocks long housed several tenants many of whom have been impacted.
On Facebook, the Regina Minor Football League (RMF) wrote it was “business as usual for RMF. No disruption to the spring league”.
The Grid VR Arcade also posted to Facebook, stating, “We are OK. We want to send out big VR Grid thank you to our Regina firefighters for their response and expertise”.
But it was a different story for REACH, a Regina-based nonprofit that provides food baskets.
Their part of the building is dealing with water damage and hasn’t had power.
“We had thousands of dollars of frozen food and fresh fruit that were in coolers and freezers. Fortunately, when we got here at 6 o’clock in the morning, because they hadn’t been opened, the temperature had maintained itself,” Executive Director Dana Folkersen said.
She said they were able to transfer most of the food to coolers and freezers at the Regina Food Bank. Some of the more perishable food was donated to the food bank or Carmichael Outreach.
Wednesday’s are the busiest day of the week for them, with 400-500 people coming to the program for boxes of food.
There is no timeline on when the program will be back up but Folkersen hopes it will be by Monday.
Piling contractors Kalron Construction have been badly impacted by the fire.
“We’re just devastated, we lost 12 bobcats I think, I don’t know it is hard to tell right now, we have lost all our gravel trucks, we end up getting two trucks out,” general manager Tyler Dutka said. “We’ve got to keep it going, we can’t just let it go now.
Dutka says they have contracts to fulfill and they had guys out working the day after the fire.
The glockenspiel, famous recently for those wanting to see it restored, was said to be housed in the building and was not impacted by the fire.