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Firefighters and paramedics worked overnight as a fire caused extensive damage to a downtown apartment building, and sent three people to hospital.

Emergency crews were called to the fire on Furby Street, near Ellice, before 11 last night. Emergency personnel were still on scene as of about noon today. Assistant chief of fire rescue operations Ihor Holowczynsky says upwards of 60 Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service personnel were involved.

"The building appears to be a majority loss," said Holowczynsky, but he would not speculate about whether the building would have to be destroyed. He said it is not safe to enter.

Residents were evacuated, including some who were on the third floor when fire/paramedic crews arrived. Assistant chief of service quality Andre Berard says a rescue crew got them and they left through the front door. Residents of a neighbouring building were also evacuated. Transit buses were used to shelter the evacuees from the cold.

Three people were taken to hospital; one was in unstable condition. Holowczynsky says they suffered smoke inhalation; no burn injuries were reported.