Police increasing patrols in Stittsville after latest fire
Ottawa police are increasing patrols and asking residents to stay vigilant in Stittsville after another suspicious fire in a newly-built home on Friday.
A home being built at 721 Eagle Crest Heights was reported on fire around 6:20 a.m. Friday, according to Ottawa Fire Services.
Ottawa fire spokesman Marc Messier said a construction worker called in the fire after seeing smoke coming from the home.
"Obviously when we got there this morning, almost right away it was deemed a suspicious fire," said Messier.
Damage is estimated in the two-storey home at $200,000 after the fire scorched the living room and basement, with heavy smoke damage throughout the home.
Messier said that fire officials were investigating, along with the Ottawa police's arson unit and the Ontario Fire Marshall.
That house is next door to a home under construction that was destroyed in a suspicious fire on Sept. 5; there was another suspicious fire in a nearby new home Sept. 2.
Both those cases were deemed arson.
"In our 40 years we have never experienced this sort of situation," said the real estate company Tartan Homes in a statement. "It is in our best interest to ensure all homes under construction close on schedule without experiencing vandalism of any kind and we are committed to making this happen."
Cars also vandalized
Stittsville residents are also reporting slashed tires on nearby Alon Street overnight. Residents told CTV Ottawa their cars had been keyed on the same street last month.
"Apparently it's just a path of destruction all the way down the street that way," said Anthony Asquith. "About three weeks ago they keyed my car. Same side, same thing."
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said he called a meeting with police, fire and bylaw officials and Stittsville city councillor Shad Qadri for noon Friday to deal with "arson and vandalism issues in Stittsville."
"It's not only stressful for the community, but completely outrageous in my opinion that this kind of activity is taking place in our city," Watson said.
With some new homes in the area being seemingly targeted, at least one future homeowner is determined to move in as scheduled.
"What we feel now is under attack," said Danny Gariepy. "We're afraid but we're also strong, we're going to move in and make a life there."
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Karen Soloman