Suspicious fire destroys house, damages church building on Lebreton Street North
Destroyed house was slated for demolition and had no electricity, firefighters say
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.
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."
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.