Despite two full days fighting a blaze at a heritage building across from Victoria Park in downtown Regina, the fire is still burning and it's unknown if there are any victims inside the long-vacant structure.
Firefighters responded to the call early Sunday morning and although the fire is contained, it is still burning.
Crews haven't been able to get inside the building, which has been vacant for more than a decade, to extinguish the fire because it's so old and unsafe, Fire Marshall Randy Ryba told CBC Monday afternoon.
"It's very unstable."
Ryba said the fire is believed to have started on the first floor. But Regina Fire still doesn't know if there were people inside the building, how the fire started, or how long it will take to put out.
"We're just monitoring it, putting water on it as we can, until I can get heavy equipment in here to start taking it apart and put the fire out. We have also not been able to clear the building of any potential victims, which is a priority for us as well."
It's an especially dangerous building fire for crews to deal with, Ryba said.
"The building is heavy timber construction. We don't know how much has been burned inside … because it's too dangerous to get in. And if we end up with a floor failure due to the burned material, those walls could come in or out at any time."
Regina Fire Marshall Randy Ryba said crews haven't been able to get inside the building on 12th Avenue to extinguish the fire because it's so old and unsafe. (CBC News)
Over the course of the day, a crane was working to remove and salvage the large sculpture that stands in front of the building along Pat Fiacco Plaza to make room for firefighters to continue to do their job at the heritage building.
Onlookers watched all the activity from behind the yellow tape at Victoria Park. One of those onlookers, Laura Gunn, said the fire is especially hard to watch as the smouldering building is close to her heart.
It was was home to Novia Cafe, which opened in 1918 and closed in 2011. Gunn said she had fond memories of going there as a little girl with her grandmother.
"My grandmother used to go there. That was her favourite spot in Regina so I'm pretty sad to see it go down because this is a piece of history on fire," Gunn said.
"It meant everything to her."
The fire at 2170 12th Avenue in downtown Regina started on Sunday morning. (Submitted by Regina Fire Department)
As she watched the firefighters work on the building, she said she felt extreme sadness.
"It probably won't be recovered, so that memory is going to be lost to a lot of people."
There was another incident downtown, a 39 year-old man was arrested on Sunday morning. He is facing 31 charges after more than two dozen gas meters were damaged in the area during the weekend.
The Regina Police Service told CBC News that it is not able to investigate any possible connection between the gas meter vandalism and the heritage building fire until the fire department gets further in its investigation. However, a full investigation cannot proceed until the fire is completely extinguished.
Ryba said there is no timeline for when firefighters will be able to make progress on the building and the investigation.