Ottawa

Fire forces evacuation of Donald Street highrise

Fire forced the evacuation of a 17-storey apartment building on Donald Street Monday morning, and firefighters used ladders to reach some residents who were stranded on their balconies.

Residents stranded on balconies rescued by ladder

Displaced residents wait to find out whether they'll be let back into their apartments at 1244 Donald St. after a fire on the building's ninth and 10th floors Monday. (Steve Fischer/CBC)

Fire forced the evacuation of a 17-storey apartment building on Donald Street Monday morning, and firefighters used ladders to reach some residents who were stranded on their balconies.

Fire alarms were activated at 1244 Donald St. at 10:31 a.m., followed by numerous 911 calls reporting flames and heavy smoke in the building's upper floors, and residents retreating to their balconies.

When firefighters arrived they encountered flames on the ninth and 10th floors and began escorting residents to safety. According to a social media post, the flames were visible in electrical panels.

Three residents who took refuge on their balconies had to be reached by ladder and led through the building to the ground floor, Ottawa Fire Services said in a news release.

Two people were taken to hospital with minor injuries and another three were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

Upper units deemed uninhabitable

Power and gas were shut off, and all the floors from the ninth up were deemed uninhabitable. 

This afternoon power was restored and residents of the lower floors were allowed to return to their apartments.

Residents of more than 100 upper units have been provided with temporary accommodation elsewhere while fire and smoke damage is being assessed. 

Donald Street was closed for most of the day between Cummings Avenue and St. Laurent Boulevard.