April 15, 2019 3:58 pm

ByWard Market fire ‘accidental and preventable’: Ottawa fire chief

Ottawa firefighters attempt to extinguish a blaze that tore through the Vittoria Trattoria restaurant in the Byward market on Friday afternoon.

Christopher Whan / Global News
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Ottawa fire chief Kim Ayotte said in an update Monday afternoon that the fire that tore through the Vittoria Trattoria Italian restaurant in the ByWard Market on Friday was both “accidental and preventable.”

According to Ayotte, the fire was caused by roofing activity that was being done on the building and fire services say it originated in the northeast corner.

WATCH: Ottawa firefighters battle ByWard Market blaze

READ MORE: Ottawa firefighters battle Byward market blaze

The commercial row building contains 12 units and four of those units sustained extensive fire and water damage.

While the location of the fire in the roof and cockloft burned through the building’s built-in fire separation measures, Ottawa fire say the “trenching strategy and aggressive extinguishing” prevented any further extensive damage to the other buildings in the row.

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Ayotte could not divulge more details on the exact cause of the fire due to concerns of future litigation that could stem from the incident.

“We’re going to be limiting our comments to the actual cause and we’ll let the facts come out in those proceedings if they do take place,” said Ayotte.

READ MORE: Heavy rainstorm leads to flooding, power outages across Ottawa

Due to structural damage to the buildings and the potential of collapse, William Street between George Street and York Street will remain closed to both pedestrians and motorists until the engineers properly stabilize the building.

Ayotte also believes that the damage estimate will be “much higher” than the $2 million that was originally reported due to the cost of the building’s contents, but was unable to provide an exact amount.

“I’m unwilling to comment on what that might be right now until the insurance companies have a chance to go in and assess the contents and provide us with their more accurate assessment,” Ayotte said.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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