Ottawa

Gatineau DND building remains off limits after fire, roof collapse

Employees at a government building in Gatineau haven't been told when they'll be allowed back into their workplace — or be able to retrieve their vehicles — after a fire there last Thursday.

Some employees unable to retrieve vehicles from building's garage

Police cordoned off the Louis St. Laurent building in Gatineau last Thursday morning after a fire broke out on the building's sixth floor. (Jean-Sébastien Marier/CBC)

Employees at a government building in Gatineau haven't been told when they'll be allowed back into their workplace — or be able to retrieve their vehicles — after a fire there last Thursday.

The Louis St. Laurent building on Carrière Boulevard caught fire before 7 a.m. Thursday and remains closed until further notice after part of the roof collapsed.

On Tuesday afternoon the government department that manages the Department of National Defence building said engineers are still checking to make sure the structure is safe.

Denis Charette is director of major real estate development with Public Services and Procurement Canada. (CBC)

"We assume the assessment will probably be completed over the next few days, maybe not by the end of this week but shortly thereafter," said Denis Charette, director of major real estate development with Public Services and Procurement Canada.

"Once that's done, then the fire investigation will have to start and determine the cause of the fire."

Some working from home, field

Debi Daviau is president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), which represents 800 engineers, IT staff and other employees among the approximately 1,800 workers stationed at the building.

She said many of the employees the union represents are working from home as they wait to hear when they'll be allowed back in, or whether they'll be moved to another building temporarily.

Some employees have been unable to retrieve their vehicles and other personal belongings from the building's parking garage, but it's not clear how many.

Daviau said PIPSC members who work from home or who perform field work will continue where possible. She added there's been confusion among some members, and said she would have liked to see the employer better prepared to manage the situation.

With files from Claudine Richard