Twenty three people are homeless after a fire broke out in a three-storey rowhouse near Montreal Road in Ottawa's east end.

The fire began before noon at a multi-unit home located at 17 Desloges Pvt.

"I came outside and I saw smoke billowing out of the window and flames just coming out of the top of the roof," said neighbour Crystal Vallieres. "It's pretty sad because you don't know where they're going to go or what's going to happen."

Crews reported heavy flame and smoke conditions while battling the blaze. They were pulled from the 10-unit complex at one point due to the strength of the fire.

A man reported the blaze in person to a nearby fire station. He gave the wrong address by mistake.

"So the crews went there, realized it was the residence in the back so they turned around and came back," said Ottawa Fire spokesman Marc Messier. "It caused a little bit of a delay."

Fifty firefighters responded to the blaze. Two suffered minor injuries.

No one else was injured.

Several pets were also rescued, including a dog who was given to a neighbour of its owner to take care of until the owner returned home.

"This poor thing has nobody right now," said Rachel St. Amour. "I'd want somebody to take care of my dog if I weren't home for sure."

The Salvation Army will assist those affected by the fire.

The blaze is estimated to have caused $1 million in damage.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Karen Soloman.