Ottawa firefighters had to rescue several residents from their balconies after a three-alarm fire broke out in an apartment high-rise east of the downtown core early Wednesday.
Twenty-five people were assessed and eight people were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation, a spokesperson for Ottawa paramedics said.
The fire occurred at an apartment building at 251 Donald St. Ottawa fire dispatch began receiving calls at around 5 a.m. and by 5:39 a.m. a third alarm was declared as the fire had spread.
According to Ottawa fire, calls came from residents from the second floor all the way to the 21st. In some cases, residents tried to escape the smoke by going out onto their the balconies and as a result ladder rescues had to be done.
Firefighters evacuated the building and the fire was brought under control by 6:03 a.m. Power to the building was lost, though.
According to Ottawa fire spokesperson Danielle Cardinal, the building will remain evacuated for a minimum of 24- 48 hours while the fire marshal investigates. Those in need of shelter or food are being assisted at the Vanier community centre. The Salvation Army, Red Cross and the City of Ottawa are all on site to assist all 223 occupants who have been affected.
As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, Ottawa firefighters are working through the building with assistance from the city to deal with pets that were left behind.
According to Marc Deschamps, spokesperson for Ottawa paramedics, while fire and paramedics were sweeping the building for anyone left. They discovered a woman in her bed suffering from an unrelated health issue. She was quickly rushed to hospital.
“If it wasn’t for this fire she might not have been found,” Deschamps says. “The fire saved her life.”
The building is managed by Ottawa Community Housing.
There has been no damage estimate as the fire marshal continues to investigate.