It's been just over a month since fire ripped through CTV Ottawa's newsroom on Merivale Road. While flames destroyed parts of the newsroom, damaging decades of the station's news archives, other parts of the building were relatively untouched.

The investigation was delayed by structural concerns and part of the roof was removed to allow investigators to begin their probe.

Now, there's a gaping hole in the newsroom. Pieces of the roof litter workstations, notes are gone, video tapes are destroyed. A bustling workplace has been reduced to ruins.

Protective gear

Anyone who enters the building needs to wear protective gear and follow strict safety procedures. A sign warning of asbestos greets anyone who enters.

Although the fire tore through the newsroom, other parts of the building were largely spared.

Air tests are clear in the five-storey office tower attached to the building. However, anyone entering the area must wear a hard hat, boots and safety glasses.

Although it's far from ground zero, the smell of smoke is still strong.

"You can smell it immediately, even taste it," said Connie Rosebush, CTV Ottawa's Operations and Web Manager.

Salvaging equipment

Rosebush has spent several hours at the building over the last few weeks helping to identify items that can be salvaged.

"As you can imagine, we have 3,000 pieces of broadcast equipment. It all has to be processed, cleaned and put in here until we pick it up," said Rosebush.

Specialized companies are now cleaning different items, such as furniture and important papers. Another company is handling the electronic equipment.


In the two-storey building that houses the newsroom, destruction is prevalent. Anyone who enters needs to wear a protective suit and face mask.

On the first floor, a guitar the cameramen used to play survived. The rest of the room they used to hang out in is destroyed.

"Now that I'm in here and see the mess, it's very emotional. After spending 30 plus years in this office, it's very emotional," said CTV cameraman Dan Waters.

Umbrella, paper survives

The devastation is worse upstairs in the newsroom, where the fire began. Decades of video history is gone.

The assignment desk, which once served as a place for reporters to discuss stories, is destroyed. The wall is missing from the side of the building, there is no roof overhead.

The fire also ravaged reporter workstations and editing suites. Still some items were spared, such as a white coffee mug on reporter Joanne Schnurr's desk and an umbrella beneath weather specialist J.J. Clarke's desk. Even some papers survived the flames.

Down the hall, anchor Max Keeping's office is also a disaster. Photos still hang on the walls, the images now blackened from smoke. However, some items can be saved.

Investigation continues

Fire officials still don't have a cause. The Ontario Fire Marshal's Office says it will be at least two months before their report is finalized.

However, the CTV News team won't be returning to Merivale Road. Instead, the news will continue to be gathered and presented from the Byward Market at the A News station on George Street.

Although there is no timeline for how long CTV Ottawa will remain at that location, it's now CTV's new home away from home.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Joanne Schnurr