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2 found dead, 1 hospitalized after fire at southwest Ottawa row home complex

Ottawa firefighters battle a blaze that broke out in a row home complex on Barnstone Drive in Barrhaven on March 31, 2020.
Ottawa firefighters battle a blaze that broke out in a row home complex on Barnstone Drive in Barrhaven on March 31, 2020. Scott Stilborn / OFS / @OFSFirePhoto

Two people were found dead and a woman was hospitalized after a fire burned through a complex of row homes in Ottawa‘s Barrhaven community early Tuesday morning.

In a news release, Ottawa’s fire department said it received “multiple” 911 calls shortly after 2 a.m. reporting a fire on Barnstone Drive, southwest of downtown.

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Once firefighters arrived, the fire spread from the unit where it broke out, the release said. More firefighters were called in to help after the blaze was escalated to a second alarm.

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A “partially collapsed roof” also forced crews to battle the fire defensively, a later update from the fire department said.

Ottawa paramedics were called to the multi-storey complex at 2:15 a.m. In a separate news release, the paramedic service confirmed two people were found dead inside the building.

A woman in her 50s was also taken to hospital in stable condition for possible injuries from smoke inhalation, paramedics said.

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First responders couldn’t confirm any identifying information about the two victims, but a spokesperson for Ottawa Fire Services said they and the injured woman were all from the same unit.

Firefighters had the blaze under control shortly after 4:15 a.m., said Jen McNeely, the fire department’s public information officer. As of late Tuesday morning, crews continued to monitor the scene.

Residents of all eight units in the affected building have been displaced because of the fire, McNeely confirmed.

Ottawa firefighters battle a blaze that broke out in a row home complex on Barnstone Drive in Barrhaven on March 31, 2020.
Ottawa firefighters battle a blaze that broke out in a row home complex on Barnstone Drive in Barrhaven on March 31, 2020. Scott Stilborn / OFS / @OFSFirePhoto

The Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the fatal fire, according to the local fire department.

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In the department’s most recent statement about the incident, Ottawa fire Chief Kim Ayotte said: “Firefighters did everything they could given the windy weather and extreme fire conditions.”

“Despite every effort, this fire ended tragically, and our hearts go out to the family and to all those affected by this incident,” said the fire chief, who visited the scene Tuesday morning.

Ottawa police are also investigating the deaths alongside the fire marshal, a police spokesperson confirmed.

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Given many people are working from home during the novel coronavirus pandemic, the fire department reminded residents to make sure they have working smoke alarms “on every level of the home [and] especially outside sleeping quarters.”

Ottawa Fire Services also urged residents to take fire safety precautions in the kitchen and to practise their home escape plan.