A multi-level fire that broke out Monday in a high-rise currently under construction in Little Italy was accidental and caused $10 million in damages, Ottawa fire officials say.
While a spokesperson told Global News that investigators were unable to determine the exact cause of the blaze, Fire Prevention and Investigations Officer Marc Messier tweeted that “improperly discarded smoking material” was to blame.
An Ottawa Fire spokesperson said about 150 construction workers were on site at the Ashcroft Homes student housing development at the time the fire broke out, but no units were occupied.
Media requests were directed to Ashcroft Homes Chief Financial Officer Manny DiFilippo, who could not be reached for immediate comment.
The damaged, 26-storey high-rise is located at 105 Champagne Ave. S., between Beech and Hickory streets.
Ottawa Fire Services determined the flames ignited in a yellow, exterior garbage chute that ran from the top of the building down to a dumpster at street level.
A news release issued Friday said that in some cases, fires that start in outdoor garbage chutes “can often be attributed to the improper disposal of smoking materials and/or chutes.”
The fire department warned that any smoking materials “should always be placed in sturdy noncombustible containers that are wind resistant.” Never toss such materials in “garbage chutes, dumpsters, planter pots or mulch,” officials said.