Ottawa

Explosion confirmed at Glebe commercial building

An explosion occurred at a commercial building in the Glebe on Thursday night, the provincial fire marshal's office confirmed, but the cause has not yet been identified.

All possible causes, including arson, under investigation by Ontario fire marshal's office

Fire crews responded to a three-alarm blaze at a commercial building in the Glebe on Apr. 9. 0:46
Fire marshal's office investigator Peter Hamilton confirmed Friday that there was an explosion in the Glebe on Thursday night. (CBC News)
An explosion occurred at a commercial building in the Glebe on Thursday night, the provincial fire marshal's office confirmed, but the cause has not yet been identified.

"We can confirm that there has been an explosion at this address and we are currently investigating all the aspects ... with respect to how an explosion could have transpired at this address," said Peter Hamilton, an investigator with the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal, on Friday.

The investigation inside the building is not expected to begin until Saturday morning at the earliest, pending the arrival of heavy specialized equipment, Hamilton added.

Ottawa firefighters were still battling hot spots and flare-ups at the site on Friday afternoon, and it wasn't yet safe to go inside.

Engineers and insurance officials will determine whether the building should be demolished or salvaged, Hamilton said.

Man injured during explosion

Crews were called to 851-859 Bank St. at about 11 p.m. Thursday after multiple people reported hearing an explosion and seeing flames at the building.

Michael Valenti, 26, had left his apartment in search of a cigarette and was walking down Bank Street when he heard a loud bang and was then showered with broken glass.

      1 of 0
      "People started rushing over to me and asked me if I was OK, and I said 'I'm fine, I'm fine,'" Valenti told Robyn Bresnahan on Ottawa Morning. "But then I saw blood on my hands and I said, 'OK, maybe I'm not fine.'"

      Paramedics treated him for cuts to his face and to his leg above his knee and he was taken to the Civic campus of the Ottawa Hospital before being released. One firefighter was also injured and treated at the scene.

      The fire was under control as of 4:34 a.m., firefighters say.

      The blaze appears to have gutted several of the shops. The windows of the building are smashed and the ceiling of at least one store appears to have collapsed. Inside the building, the Silver Scissors hair salon, Beaver's Mug Cafe and other stores are blackened and charred.

      Damage is estimated at several million dollars.

      Michael Valenti was walking along Bank Street in search of a cigarette when he says he heard a loud bang and was struck in the face and leg by broken glass. (Sean Costello)
      A neighbouring building at 33 Regent St. and a home on Fifth Avenue were evacuated as a precaution as firefighters dealt with the blaze.

      Hydro Ottawa has restored power to all but a few customers in the area as of 8 a.m. The power had been out for about 724 customers overnight.

      Police closed Bank between Fourth Avenue and Holmwood, but one lane in each direction reopened to traffic early Friday afternoon.

      The partial road closures will last until the on-site investigation is complete, which could take several days, Hamilton said.

      Comments

      To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

      By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.