Ottawa police have charged 30-year-old Rene Goudreau with first-degree murder after a woman, neighbours say is his mother, was killed in a fire Tuesday morning.

Flames and smoke started billowing out of the first-floor apartment unit at 90 Woodridge Crescent around 2:30 a.m.

Investigators say it started in Lucie Goudreau’s bedroom. She did not survive.

Neighbours tell CTV News she had multiple sclerosis and struggled with mobility issues. They say she was often seen using an electric wheelchair.

“It’s scary; really heavy flames,” said resident Neha Singh.

Police combed the west-end apartment for hours. Though they did not immediately confirm an arrest, witnesses reported seeing a man being taken away in handcuffs.

“It is a homicide but we have to wait for cause of death,” said Ottawa police constable Henri Lanctot.

Many who live in the apartment building near Bayshore Shopping Centre say they did not know her but that the story makes them “sick.”

The fatal fire caused $20,000 in damage. It was contained to the unit and did not impact anyone else living in the building. Residents have been allowed to return home.

With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Vanessa Lee