Fire hits townhomes

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/05/20/fire-hits-townhomes-under-construction

Neighbours came by on foot, bike and car Saturday to stare at the charred remains of a spectacular $2.5 million four-alarm fire in Kanata.

“Oh my God,” said Jasper Nie, 7, as he rode his bike then suddenly stopped.

His sentiments were echoed by resident after resident.

“It was a good burn but your heart stops while you’re watching it. You can’t help but look,” said Mandy Hambly, who lives down the street.

Ottawa fire arson investigators were at the scene Saturday after a blaze tore through the unoccupied townhomes under construction on Remnor Ave. Friday night around 10 p.m.

Fire officials said it’s too early to call the blaze suspicious.

“I was in bed watching a movie and my window faces across Remnor and I heard some glass smashing,”said Hambly, who’s pregnant and expecting in about two weeks.

She called 911 when she saw the flames.

“The fire just tore through the construction. I mean, it was shocking to see,” she said.

Neighbours filled the street to watch the sky light up.

By the end of the night, “the tire company came by and ended up replacing at least one of the tires on the fire truck because I guess it had melted. So it was pretty extreme heat,” said her husband, Rob Hambly.

It was so extreme, the exterior siding on a house across the street started melting.

Its residents – a young couple with a baby – were safely evacuated.

The community mailboxes also got damaged by the intense flames.

Several windows in the empty homes were shattered.

One house had a garage door that was completely mangled.

Most of the townhouses being built by Richcraft were sold, said Coun. Marianne Wilkinson.

“People were planning to move in, in the next few weeks,” she said.

The blaze destroyed a handful of units and significantly damaged a second building.

Nie is focusing on what really matters.

“I’m not sure how it (was) caused but everybody’s OK,” he said.

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