Investigators are searching for the cause of a fire that severely damaged a 13-unit residential building in Ottawa’s east end.

Firefighters responded to 911 calls at approximately 8:40 p.m. Thursday reporting a fire in a four-storey building on Ogilvie Road, between Palmerston Drive and Cadboro Road.  One person told CTV News Ottawa they heard an explosion.

Ottawa’s 911 emergency response centre received more than 60 calls about the fire shortly after it started.

When firefighters arrived on scene, the building was fully involved in smoke and flames.

Firefighters were seen going through the building searching for occupants.  Ottawa Fire photographer Scott Stilborn said at 9:19 p.m. that all firefighters had been ordered out of the building due to "collapse concerns."

The fire was declared under control at 10:20 p.m.

No one was injured in the fire, and several pets were rescued from the building, including a dog that was returned to its owner.

Ottawa Fire told CTV News Ottawa on Friday that eight of the 13 units were severely damaged by fire. The other five units in the building suffered smoke and water damage.

“Something I would not want to see again,” neighbor Susan Labelle said. “I didn’t sleep all night, and I still haven’t slept.”

The initial investigation shows the fire started on an exterior wall and extended into the attic of the building. Officials say the fire is not considered suspicious.

Pictures from the scene showed the fire spread through several floors of the building, with flames coming out of the roof. 

"Amazing work for extremely skilled firefighters," said Kim Ayotte, Ottawa's general manager of emergency and protective services. "Very thankful that there are no reported serious injuries at this time."

“Everyone, thank God, was able to get out of their homes,” Labelle said.

Beacon Hill-Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney said the city of Ottawa and partner agencies were on the scene to assist residents displaced by the fire.



The building was operated by Better Living Residential Co-Op

“All of the people are safe and unaccounted for – and, we’re working on getting them placed at this time,” property manager Yvonne Ashby said.

“We’re working on finding them places to stay for the next while, while we get our building sorted out.”

Coun. Tim Tierney says he will be hosting a fundraiser and collection of goods in conjunction with Better Living Residential Co-Op to help the residents displaced by the fire.

The event will be held on Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 1350 Ogilvie Road, with coffee, donuts and hot chocolate.

Residents are invited to drop by and contribute to the fundraiser.

Tierney says items needed include:

  • Grocery cards
  • Cash donations
  • Restaurants gift cards
  • Cheques may be made out to 'Better Living Residential Co-Op’
  • Batteries, phone chargers, USB or lightning chargers
  • Toiletries

With files from CTV News Ottawa's Peter Szperling