Suspicious fire destroys house, damages church building on Lebreton Street North

A vacant house in Chinatown was destroyed by a suspicious fire early Tuesday morning, and residents of a church building next door are temporarily homeless after the flames spread.

Destroyed house was slated for demolition and had no electricity, firefighters say

VIDEO House destroyed in Chinatown fire

5 years ago
A two-storey house was destroyed by an early morning fire in Chinatown. 0:40

A vacant house in Chinatown was destroyed by a suspicious fire early Tuesday morning, and residents of a church building next door are temporarily homeless after the flames spread.

Multiple people called 911 at about 1 a.m. to report smoke and flames coming from 13 Lebreton St. N., a two-storey house near Somerset Street West that was slated for demolition, according to fire department spokeswoman Danielle Cardinal.

The house was engulfed by fire when crews arrived, forcing firefighters to use a defensive attack from outside the building. One side of the house soon collapsed.

A three-storey commercial and residential building next door, used by and attached to the Annunciation Orthodox Church, sustained about $250,000 in damage when flames spread to it.

The Annunciation Orthodox Church suffered some damage after the building next door was destroyed in a blaze. (CBC)

Residents flee from church next door

Four residents of two apartments are temporarily homeless and were being assisted by the church and victim services. Several commercial units in the building are also temporarily closed off.

The actual church cathedral was saved, Cardinal said.

Kaitlin Griggs was in one of the apartments when her neighbours woke her up shortly after one in the morning.

"I got out of bed, figured maybe at least I could grab some changes of clothes," said Griggs.

"But when I looked across the hallway and realized that there were flames about two feet away from the windows, that idea went out the window pretty quickly."

Kaitlin Griggs stands in front of the remains of the building at 13 Lebreton St. N. She was forced from her apartment next door after fire engulfed the building. (CBC)

One firefighter suffered a minor injury and no other injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined but it has been deemed suspicious. The building is no longer structurally sound because it partially collapsed, which will make determining the cause of the fire difficult, Cardinal said.

4th suspicious fire at vacant homes in 2 months

The Office of the Fire Marshal of Ontario has been notified but is not invoking its investigative mandate.

Tuesday morning's fire comes after three other suspicious fires at vacant homes in the past two months, which all occurred in the early morning hours.

On Aug. 15, suspicious fires broke out at two vacant homes in Vanier within three blocks of each other, in the span of an hour, starting at 12:30 a.m.

And on July 6, a suspicious fire at 2:15 a.m. at a vacant home on Carruthers Avenue in Mechanicsville left a family of five next door temporarily homeless.

This two-storey house was engulfed in and destroyed by flames early Tuesday morning on Lebreton Street North in Ottawa. A church building next door sustained about $250,000 in damage. (CBC)