Burning vehicles in Birds Hill Park sent plumes of thick black smoke into the air Sunday afternoon as more than 100 people stood by and watched from a short distance away.
The fire appears to have started in the engine of a silver sedan in the East Beach parking lot around 4 p.m., according to Jeff Hudson, chief of the Rural Municipality of Springfield’s Fire and Rescue service.
Manitoba Conservation officers first attempted to put that fire out with handheld extinguishers but weren’t successful, Hudson said.
There were no injuries. In all, five vehicles were burned and others damaged by smoke Hudson said. Manitoba Public Insurance will investigate the cause of the fire further, he said.
CBC studio director Pat Kaniuga was at the park’s beach with his family. He said he saw the smoke from the beach as they were packing up to leave.
The cars in the packed parking lot were parked very close together and the fire soon spread to three other vehicles, Kaniuga said, adding he heard “lots of pops” from the engulfed silver sedan.
It took fire crews about 20-30 minutes to arrive, Kaniuga said. In the interim, scores of people stood looking on from a distance of 40-60 feet away as park security kept them at a distance.
Mohamed Almaleki told CBC News he stood about 50 feet away from the blaze. “I could feel it really piercing my skin … The smell was horrible as well,” he said.
“It was beautiful day at the beach, although it sucks that property got damaged … the fact that nobody was hurt is something to celebrate.” Almaleki said.
Someone clearly left @MeekMill mix tape on in the car. Glad nobody was hurt! 🙏 #MeekMill #WinsAndLosses #birdshill #winnipeg pic.twitter.com/LDHIBuo81i