Ten people have nowhere to stay after an intentionally-set fire at a central Ottawa bed and breakfast Monday night.

Ottawa fire crews said they got multiple 911 calls to the Arlington Bed and Breakfast at 511 Kent Street around 6:50 p.m., reporting smoke and fire coming from the rear of the building.

When they arrived they said the deck and back of the house were on fire, with flames coming through the roof.

Neighbours said a 47-year-old man was trapped on a balcony for about 15 minutes before he could be rescued and taken to hospital for smoke inhalation.

Fire crews searched the two and a half storey, 11-unit building for anyone else inside as callers had said there could have been people trapped.

Many people spilled onto the street to watch the fire and rescue at what they called a rooming house.

"From where I was standing I could actually sense the heat," said Nilton Demenezes.

"We saw a couple of firefighters using axes and hacking into the roof," said another witness. "You can see the rescue go on."

Ten people were displaced by the fire, with only the one injury. The Salvation Army and Red Cross are helping the people who were staying there.

Ottawa Fire Services spokesperson Marc Messier said Tuesday the fire appears to have been arson.

Damage to the building is estimated at $400,000 with fire crews able to limit damage to neighbouring buildings.

The fire caused power lines to fall, cutting power to a zone a few blocks around the fire site.

Ottawa police also closed area roads while the fire and cleanup were happening, opening them back up around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Stefanie Masotti