Ottawa

Overnight rowhouse fire reignites after leaving 21 people homeless

A rowhouse fire that left 21 people homeless overnight reignited on Monday morning, sending dozens of firefighters back to Lowertown.

Fire breaks out just before midnight, then apparently flares up again after 6 a.m.

Twenty-one people who lived inside this Lowertown building are homeless after a fire broke out late Sunday night. (CBC)

A rowhouse fire that left 21 people homeless overnight reignited on Monday morning, sending dozens of firefighters back to Lowertown.

The original blaze broke out at 33 and 35 Heney St. — a three-storey building with 12 units between Cobourg and Wurtemburg streets — at about 11:40 p.m. Sunday.

It took crews about half an hour to get the original fire under control. (CBC)

Everyone inside had managed to get out by the time firefighters arrived, but a 36-year-old man was treated by paramedics for smoke inhalation and was taken to hospital in serious condition.

"I heard what sounded like shooting. I'm guessing it was [crews] banging on the roof or something," said Francois Brochu, who lives nearby.

"Then there were chainsaws. It was a rather weird noise for midnight on a Sunday night in the neighbourhood."

Firefighters got the flames under control within about half an hour but none of the units are habitable, according to Ottawa fire officials.

Displaced residents were being assisted by victim services.

Firefighters hose each other off after leaving 33-35 Heney St. in Lowertown in case the building's insulation had asbestos in it. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

Fire started in roof

Flames reignited just after 6 a.m. Monday and brought more fire trucks to the scene. Fire crews managed to get the flames out by about 6:30 a.m.

A damage estimate was not immediately available Monday morning.

The cause of the fire hasn't yet been determined, though fire department Capt. Kevin Lambert said it started in the roof and was contained to that area, with smoke and water damage throughout the rest of the building.

"There's been a number of renovations done to [these older buildings] and as a result there are different types of insulation and a great deal of fire load in these roofs," he said.

"Fire load is the amount of combustible materials that will burn in a certain period of time."

Lambert said the building likely had vermiculite insulation, which could contain asbestos, so firefighters were taking precautions such as being hosed off after they left the building.

Ottawa police and the fire department are investigating. Lambert said some firefighters will stay there for most of the day in case there's another flare-up.

Here are some images of the flames reigniting early Monday.

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