$650K fire in rural west Ottawa

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/06/20/crews-battle-fire-in-rural-west-ottawa

Neighbours feared a Stittsville retiree was trapped inside his burning house Monday morning, but it turned out he’s the one who made the 911 call.

“I was outside cutting the grass,” said Geoff Stevens, who lives at 304 Spruce Ridge Rd., in a three-bedroom house listed for sale at $375,000.

Situated in a heavily bushed area, the roof was in flames around 9 a.m. and the blaze rapidly spread to the upper floor.

Stevens is displaced after fire destroyed his home of 13 years.

“It’s almost completely razed,” he said.

Black smoke billowing on the horizon was visible more than 10 km away on Hwy. 417.

Spruce Ridge was closed between Hazeldean Rd. and Richardson Side Rd. for hours.

Kim McGregor is a landscaper and said she works on Stevens’ yard everyday.

She was on her way there, only to be stopped by police who were blocking the road.

“The house is sort of a Spanish-style two-storey double garage, fireplace inside. Very nice looking place on the inside,” said McGregor.

About 50 firefighters were on the scene and the blaze was hot enough to melt their helmets.

Fire crews worked quickly to contain the fire.

“The house is a total loss, however we managed to protect the surrounding forested area and the homes on either side of this house,” said Sector Chief Gerry Pingitore.

Total damage is estimated at $650,000 and the cause is under investigation.

Stevens, a former financial planner, will be spending the night in a motel.

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