Former Asper mansion devastated after blaze

Winnipeg firefighters battle a house fire at 1021 Wellington Crescent in Winnipeg, Man. Sunday...

Winnipeg firefighters battle a house fire at 1021 Wellington Crescent in Winnipeg, Man. Sunday February 16, 2014. There were no injuries reported. (Brian Donogh/Winnipeg Sun/QMI Agency)

WINNIPEG SUN

, Last Updated: 10:17 PM ET

WINNIPEG -- Karl Dornetshuber was devastated.

His dream home at 1021 Wellington Crescent was destroyed by a fire that started around 6 a.m. on Sunday.

Luckily for Dornetshuber, he and his family were in Edmonton visiting at the time and no one was injured in the blaze.

“It’s very bad, very bad,” Dornetshuber said via cell phone from Edmonton. “My neighbour sent me a picture of it and it doesn’t look very good.

“It was very much my dream home.”

Dornetshuber, who does not know how it started, cut his visit short and was scheduled to return to Winnipeg later Sunday.

Daren Jorgenson, the next-door neighbour who sent him the pics, at first thought his own home was on fire.

“Just before 7 a.m., my (house) alarm went off and I got up to have a look, just thinking it was something stupid,” Jorgenson said. “Then, I looked at the alarm pad and it said, ‘Fire.’ I said, ‘Oh (crap),’ then looked out the window and saw all the firetrucks and thought my house was on fire. I ran outside and saw that it was Karl’s house that was on fire, not mine. And I thought Karl and his family were still in there.”

When Jorgenson realized that the family was not home, he tried to reach Dornetshuber.

“I tried to call Karl and left him a message, saying, ‘Your house is on fire,’” Jorgenson said.

Dornetshuber had recently renovated the home, which is believed to be worth in the $2.4 million range.

Dornetshuber, who moved here from Austria, owns a gravel company and had moved into the home about five years ago.

The cause of the fire had yet to be determined by Sunday afternoon as firefighters were still battling the blaze. Jorgenson was not worried about it spreading to his home as it is some distance away and there are no tree in-between.

Another neighbour woke with a start.

“I woke up this morning around 6-6:15 a.m. to (the noise) of firetrucks,” said Mary Furgale, who lives two doors down. “I looked out my window and, sure enough, there’s about 10 firetrucks lined up outside of my house and further down Wellington. So, I ran to my Mom’s bathroom, where I could see, and there were just huge flames and smoke, just huge, orange flames up to the sky. It was unbelievable.

“It was so scary … I don’t even want to look at it after, it’s just unbelievable.”

In the past, the home has been owned by such prominent Winnipeg families as the Aspers and Siftons.

No damage estimate or cause of the fire has been determined yet.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @bendersun


Videos

Photos