Four rowhouse units are destroyed and another two damaged after a fire ripped through a complex of townhouse apartments in east Ottawa.

About 23 people have been forced out of their homes after the blaze spread at 15, 17 and 19 Desloges Private, just off Montreal Road near the Montfort Hospital.

The flames were first reported in the second and third floor, as well as the roof.

The townhouses were a block away from a fire station, but firefighters took longer than normal to get to the blaze because a resident who had come to the station to inform them about the fire gave them the wrong address —on Hochelaga Street.

When firefighters realized their mistake, they rerouted to Desloges and found the building was fully engulfed in flames.

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Firefighters worked to contain a blaze at Desloges Private. (David Gerow/CBC )

Firefighters quickly got to work and made sure everyone — as well as a few pets — got out safely. At one point, firefighters had to leave the building and fight the fire from outside in the rain as it spread.

The fire was under control by 2:03 p.m. said Ottawa Fire Services spokesman Marc Messier.

Nine people lived in the six affected units and another 14 people won't be able to return this evening as hydro and gas has been shut off in the building.

There were no civilian injuries, but two firefighters suffered minor injuries.

Damages are estimated at $1 million. Ottawa police, paramedics and the Salvation Army and Red Cross were also on scene assisting the victims.

Claudette Theoret was inside her unit when the fire broke out.

"The flames were going up on the veranda in my bedroom — and I said I better get out of here — and I did straight for the door," said Theoret.

She said she saw flames shooting outside on her veranda when she got out of the shower. She rushed through a smoke-filled hallway and got out of the building.

The cause is not yet known.