Highrise residents temporarily homeless after fire

Dozens of residents of an apartment highrise on Riverside Drive are temporarily homeless following an electrical fire Wednesday.

Smoke forced residents onto balconies as firefighters battled blaze on 21st floor

Emergency crews responded to a fire Wednesday on the 21st floor of this highrise at 2201 Riverside Drive. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

Dozens of residents of an apartment highrise on Riverside Drive are temporarily homeless following an electrical fire Wednesday.

Ottawa Fire Services got a call before 11 a.m. Wednesday about smoke on the 21st floor of the building near the intersection of Bank Street and Riverside Drive.

The heavy smoke forced some residents onto their balconies as firefighters climbed the stairs to douse the flames with a chemical extinguisher. 

The fire was under control by 11:30 a.m. and residents were led down the stairs to safety because power to the building had been cut and the elevators were out of service, according to fire services spokesperson Danielle Cardinal.

Paramedics treated six patients, mostly for shortness of breath. Two people were transported to hospital. 

Emergency housing

Power was restored to the building Wednesday evening and fire crews remained at the scene until 6 p.m. to help residents return to their apartments to collect essential items such as medication.

Residents of the 21st and 22nd floors have been displaced. Ottawa Fire Services couldn't say exactly how many people have been affected, but Cardinal said it's fewer than 100.

The Red Cross and Salvation Army are providing emergency aid. Displaced residents who haven't gone to stay with friends or family will get three days of emergency housing, as well as food and clothing.

Cardinal could not say how long the residents will be displaced.

The fire caused an estimated $250,000 damage to the building.