The Ottawa Police Arson Unit says a massive fire in Ottawa's Glebe neighbourhood that destroyed several local businesses was deliberately set.

Fire crews were called to the building on Bank Street at Fifth Avenue around 11 p.m. Thursday night.

The three-alarm blaze consumed several businesses, including a hair salon, a coffee shop and a Pizza Hut. The damages likely total in the millions.

“This is in the heart of the area and it affects everybody,” said Andrew Peck, the president of the Glebe Business Improvement Area. “It’s just very sad. It's a very sad day.”

Ottawa Fire Services spokesperson Bob Rainboth said the fire took more than five hours to extinguish.

“There was an explosion that woke many residents up in the neighborhood, and as our crews came to the scene, they did notice that the fire was through the roof,” he said.

Rainboth said the cause of the fire was still unknown. One firefighter was treated for minor injuries at the scene, he said.