Man charged with arson after Wendy's fire
Overnight fire gutted west Ottawa chain restaurant
A 28-year-old man is facing charges including arson endangering life after fire gutted a west Ottawa Wendy's restaurant early Tuesday.
Emergency crews got calls about heavy smoke and flames coming from the restaurant on Carling Avenue, in a corner of the Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre parking lot, at about 12:15 a.m.
The size of the fire forced firefighters to stay outside the crumbling building and crews had to call for backup, Ottawa Fire Services said in a news release.
Paramedics treated four people for smoke inhalation at the scene and took an adult and a youth to hospital in stable condition.
Firefighters continued to put out hotspots Tuesday morning. The restaurant was gutted, with its windows around the dining area blown out and its sign out front melted.
The Office of the Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of the fire. Damage is estimated at more than $1 million.
Police have spoken to witnesses, who led them to believe the fire was deliberately set.
The suspect is charged with arson endangering life and arson damaging property, along with two counts breaching release conditions. Ottawa police confirmed he was an employee of the restaurant but wasn't working that night.
The Ontario fire marshal's office is also involved in the investigation and said the fire likely caused more than $1 million worth of damage.
5 employees at restaurant
"We're extremely thankful that our employees are all safe and well," said Lisa Deletroz, a spokesperson for Wendy's Restaurants of Canada.
She said five employees were at the location at the time and the two taken to hospital are now back home.
The restaurant was owned by a franchisee, who also has two other locations. She said the next steps are trying to find the employees jobs at other locations.
"We have a number of franchisees in Ottawa who would be willing to help out in any way they can," she said.