Man killed in highrise fire on Heatherington Road

Ottawa firefighters say a man died in a highrise fire south of downtown Ottawa early Wednesday morning.

2 people were pulled from a fifth floor apartment

Ottawa firefighters and paramedics respond to a fatal fire in a highrise apartment building on Heatherington Road Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (Scott Stilborn/Ottawa Fire Services)

Ottawa firefighters say a man died in a highrise fire south of downtown Ottawa early Wednesday morning.

Fire crews were called to 1455 Heatherington Road near the intersection of Walkley and Albion roads just after 2 a.m..

Two people were removed from a fifth floor apartment, firefighters said.

One of them, a 55-year-old man, was declared dead at the scene, according to Ottawa paramedics.

A 61-year-old man who woke up to smoke in the apartment was treated for smoke inhalation that didn't require hospitalization, paramedics said. The Red Cross and Salvation Army were on scene assisting him, said Danielle Cardinal, a public information officer with Ottawa Fire Services.

Residents describe wall of smoke

"I opened the door and it was just smoke, couldn't even see anything," said Tigist Nicola, whose apartment is also on the fifth floor. She described being jolted awake by the building's fire alarm and was encountered by a thick wall of smoke in the hall.

"I was panicking. I had to run down through the stairs. It was terrible. I've never had an experience like that."  

She had to wait outside for an hour before being let back into her unit.

Tigist Nicola says she encountered thick smoke while trying to flee her fifth floor apartment. (CBC)

"Residents can choose to stay in their units if it's a safe option," Cardinal said, adding that an OC Transpo bus was brought in to shelter anyone evacuated from the building. They were allowed back in fairly quickly because no other units sustained damage, she said.

An Ottawa fire investigator is looking into the cause of the fire and the extent of the damage, along with the Ontario Fire Marshal's office.