Burned out residents search for missing pets in Ottawa Northview fire
Joanne Schnurr, CTV Ottawa
Published Friday, March 17, 2017 4:51PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, March 17, 2017 7:05PM EDT
Fire victims are slowly getting their lives back in order, after that horrific weekend blaze in west end Ottawa . Amazingly, no one was killed in the massive fire at 34 Northview Road, sending tenants from 32 units scrambling for their lives, in some cases, leaving cherished pets behind. Now, the hunt is on to find them.
Most days are tough days for Dylan Larabie when you're dealing with the burned out remnants of people's lives, as an employee with the fire damage restoration company DFB Associates. But then, there are days like yesterday.
“We were going down to find material, other possessions,” Larabie explains, as he suits up in a white “hazmat” suit outside the burned out building, “while looking into the closet in the master bedroom, I noticed a tail under a bunch of the blankets.”
That tail belonged to a cat named Winston, who was happily reunited with his owners.
Axelle Manley, however, is still waiting for that happy reunion. She's been at the Northview building every day since the fire, desperately trying to her three cats Max, Coal and Ash.
“They mean everything to me,” she says, crying softly, “and they mean a lot to my 4-year-old daughter as well, who's been asking for them.”
Manley and her daughter lost two geckos in the fire but their two birds were rescued by firefighters.
The four alarm blaze ripped through the housing complex on Sunday afternoon, sending about 70 residents running for their lives.
“I got my daughter and myself out with barely anything,” Manley says.
Internatonal students Pawan Aggarwal and Mayan Misra from India lost their passports, and other critical personal papers in the fire. They were at the scene today hoping Dylan Larabie and his co-workers could help them.
“These 4 or 5 days have been so difficult for us,” says Misra. Both men are studying at Algonquin College and have only been in Canada for about 7 months. “We were almost settled in, but now we need to start again from zero.”
Algonquin has found the men accommodations for a week. Larabie and his colleagues are trying to find their documents as they head back in to the burned-out building for another look through their apartment.
Meanwhile, Janice Richard and her team with the Cat Rescue Network are trying to help Manley find her cats. They have already organized two searches around the perimeter of the building, in underground parking garages, anywhere the cats may hide. Manley’s apartment is too badly destroyed for Larabie and his team to get there.
Janice Richard explains that a third search is planned for Saturday night at 9 p.m. and encourages anyone who wants to help to come out.
“We're hoping at night a lot of cats that are lost, especially if they are indoor animals that have never been outdoors, they'll move at night, they won't move during the day,” she explains.
Within minutes, Larabie comes out with documents in hand for both Mayan Misra and Pawan Aggarwal.
“Here you go boss,” he says as he hands the papers over.
“I’m so relieved I got my documents,” says an emotional and thankful Aggarwal, who says Canada has been especially good to both of them. “I really appreciate that. Thanks to all the workers, Algonquin, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Minto and to the firefighters.”
The search, however, continues for Ash, Coal and Max. Paw prints were found in and around the boiler room, so there is hope for a successful rescue.
“We lost everything in the fire,” says Axelle Manley, “but if we can find them, that's all we want.”