Centretown blaze leaves 10 homeless

One man was rescued from a balcony and at least 10 people are displaced following a massive three alarm Centretown blaze causing $400,000 in damage Monday evening.

Emergency crews received multiple calls at 6:52 reporting fire and smoke from the Arlington Bed & Breakfast at 511 Kent St., at the corner of Arlington Ave.

Valerie MacMillan lives next door and had just sat down for dinner.

“I could hear like a pop, pop, and I could smell smoke, so I thought maybe something was going on in the back parking lot and I went to go look out, and I saw just like, the flames are gulfing, gulfing,” said MacMillan.

“I was just completely at a loss, so I called 911.”

When fire crews arrived, the deck and the back of the house were on fire with flames visible from the roof, said Ottawa Fire spokesman Marc Messier.

A man, described as thin and frail with silver hair, was saved from the top floor balcony.

Paramedics treated him for minor smoke inhalation and transported him to the Civic hospital.

More than an hour later, flames were still coming from the roof.

Lawrence Howard also lives next door.

“I came home from work, walked my dog, came into the house, was in the shower, and heard my dog barking,” he said.

He went to the door and saw the fire.

“I put my clothes on and came outside,” Howard said.

A young man on a bicycle said he lives in the burning home and was worried about his passport and documents, but was too upset to give his name.

About 900 people were without power as hydro wires were down, causing safety hazards at the scene, which also created
traffic disruptions.

MacMillan’s boyfriend, David Lawless, was driving from Gatineau to pick her up.

“As I was driving across the bridge from Quebec, all I could see was smoke rising,” said Lawless.

“Thankfully, she’s OK.”

More than 100 area residents stood and watched the scene unfold, many shooting photos and video.

They were anxious to return home.

“Everything I have is inside, my phone’s still in there,” said Howard,adding he was worried about “pretty much everything” he has.

“But there’s not much I can do if I can’t go in,” he said.

The Red Cross and Salvation Army are assisting.

Damage to neighbouring buildings is limited by the work of firefighters,said Messier.

No word yet on the cause.


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