Residents escape burning Tyndall Park home, claim arson to blame
Residents of a Willow Park housing unit in the Tyndall Park area narrowly escaped a major fire early Saturday morning.
Nik Lynam said he and his brother were sleeping when they heard the fire alarm go off, moments later, his brother was yelling that they needed to get out.
"The alarm is serious. You're running out of the house, you're just seeing the couches and the window and the curtains all up in flames," explained Lynam. "As soon as we left the door, you heard the glass shatter."
Lynam said once they escaped the home, his brother called 911.
One of Lynam's neighbours also called emergency services and informed Lynam that two cars and some garbage bins were also on fire.
"As soon as we kind of talked to our nieghbour, we realized that it was something a little bigger than just a random house fire. That there was somebody kind of behind it," said Lynam.
Tyler Bryan lives in Willow Park as well. He said a neighbour woke him up to tell him his car was on fire.
He went downstairs and put it out with a fire extinguisher; he said the neighbourhood saw a man setting the fires.
"I'm assuming it started with my car, then it looks like he moved to the unit, and then he tried to do another car," said Bryan. "There was another neighbour that got some pictures of him and whatever while he was doing it, and that kind of scared him off."
Winnipeg Police couldn't say if the incident was arson, but the investigation is still ongoing, and one adult male has been detained.
A GoFundMe page was started for Lynam and his brothers to recover some of the loses suffered in the blaze.
The page reached its $10,000 fundraising goal within hours, a gesture that meant a lot to Lynam and his family.
"Honestly, I just broke down in tears, like just the generosity of the city and the community, and everyone's really shown support. It's been overwhelming and incredible, really," said Lynam.
Lynam got some pictures of the man who was seen setting the fires, and he believes the man was struggling with addiction and mental health issues.
The experience made Lynam want to give back to his community. Moving forward, he plans to donate his time to organizations that help people struggling with those issues.
"I kind of implore people to support organizations like Bruce Oake Foundation or any organization dealing with mental health and addiction issues," Lynam said.
Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Services said no injuries were reported in the fire, and the cause is still under investigation.