Ottawa fire officials say an early morning bathroom break might have saved three lives after a fire broke out at a home in Little Italy.

Firefighters, paramedics and police responded to 26 Anderson St. just before 2 a.m. Saturday for a fire on the building’s second floor.

Once on scene, firefighters discovered one man was trapped on the front porch roof. They rescued the tenant, as well as another man who had collapsed on the floor of the apartment.

The fire was knocked down within 15 minutes, officials said.

Fire officials say cooking caused the blaze, which could have been fatal because all three smoke detectors in the apartment were disabled. Two had no batteries and the third was not installed properly.

The smoke was only discovered when a main floor tenant woke up to use the bathroom. The man and his wife then woke the upstairs tenant, who exited through the window due to the smoke.

An 80-year-old man, 58-year-old man and woman in her 60s suffered from smoke inhalation. They were each taken to hospital in serious but stable condition and monitored closely.

Total damage has been estimated at $50,000.