An Ottawa couple are suing the city and its fire department for $1 million, claiming that fire crews failed to prevent a second outbreak of fire at their farm in March.

Barn fire officials North Gower

Fire officials are shown investigating the two barn fires, which killed livestock including horses, cattle and chickens. (CBC)

Firefighters responded to a barn fire at 6255 Prince of Wales Dr., north of North Gower, that broke out at about 9:30 p.m. on March 22.

When they arrived, firefighters found a two-storey barn on fire. The barn measured 30 metres by nine metres and was used to house livestock.

The insured barn was destroyed in the blaze, along with the livestock and equipment inside, despite the efforts of firefighters.

In the statement of claim filed July 28, David and Judy Nixon allege that fire crews left the farm at about 8 a.m. on Sunday — about 10 hours after the fire broke out. But the couple claims they had been told by a fire chief Saturday that crews would monitor the site for 24 hours to make sure the fire did not recur.

On Sunday at about 12 p.m. — nearly 15 hours after the first fire — a second barn on the property caught fire and was destroyed, along with more equipment and livestock. 

The second barn was not insured.

The Nixons are claiming $1 million in damages for damaged and lost property, as well as special damages for out-of-pocket expenses (including a $50,000 cleanup), damages for past and future loss of income, interest on damages found to be owing, and the cost of the lawsuit.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

The city says it's working on a statement of defence.

"The claim referred to was served on the city last week and the city will be filing a statement of defence in due course,"  said David White, the city's deputy solicitor, in an emailed statement. "In keeping with its usual practice in respect of cases that are before the courts, the city is not prepared to comment further on the matter."