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Fire engulfs old Edmonton municipal airport hangar

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A historical hangar at the former Edmonton municipal airport beside the NAIT main campus was on fire Monday night.

Edmonton Fire Rescue Services told CTV News Edmonton they received the call at 6:54 p.m. about the fire at Hangar 11, which had been designated a historic resource by city council.

"Very soon, (the first crews on scene) realized the interior of the structure was fully involved, so there was no interior attack as it was already unsafe for anyone to go into the building itself," District 1 fire chief Jessica LaMer told reporters at the scene. 

"It's a very huge fire load in a hangar like this. It's obviously wood construction so with the high winds, it got the fire going really quickly so we just called in more resources to try and keep the fire under control and keep it to the area we were worried about exposures."

The hangar at 109 Street and 117 Avenue sits on the east side of the former airport grounds on the western edge of the NAIT main campus.

At one point, 11 crews were on scene, with heavy smoke and flames coming from the hangar.

No injuries were reported Monday evening.

People watching the fire were directed by Edmonton police to stay back.

Traffic on roads in the area, including Kingsway, saw vehicles slowing down and even stopping to watch the blaze.

Hangar 11 was built by the U.S. military in 1942 and was believed to be the last building of its kind in western Canada.

As recently as two years ago, plans were in place to turn the hangar into a mixed-use retail/commercial space.

NAIT asked students and staff to stay away from its main campus on Tuesday because of poor air quality in buildings. Where possible, the institution said classes would be moved online. 

LRT service to the NAIT/Blatchford Market station, also located in the area, was also cancelled until about 10 p.m. 

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