Sunday, May 26, 2024

Firefighters extinguish 3-alarm fire at Bank Street pharmacy in the Glebe

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Ottawa Fire Services says no injuries were reported after a fire broke out at the Glebe Apothecary, a staple pharmacy along Bank Street on Sunday morning.

Firefighters say they received multiple calls around 8 a.m. reporting black smoke coming from the top of the two-storey building located at 778 Bank Street.

When crews arrived on scene, two minutes into the initial call, they found fire in the ceiling of the second floor. Firefighters then began opening up the ceiling to put the flames out. 

Crews reported significant fire in the attic of the structure, the fire department said. A third alarm was called in to assist firefighters with heavy flames and smoke.

The fire was declared under control shortly after 10 a.m.

“A ‘fire watch’ has been set up to monitor for any flare ups,” Ottawa fire said in a post on X. 

The scene in front of the Glebe Apothecary Sunday morning on Mar. 24, 2024 (Sam Houpt/CTV News)Ottawa fire spokesperson Nick Defazio told CTV News Ottawa the fire was contained to the building. The pharmacy is located between the McKeen Metro grocery store and a spa.

McKeen Metro had yellow tape in front of the door on Sunday afternoon and remains closed “until further notice,” according to a sign on its front door. 

Smoke made its way into the drug store at the back of the building, prompting crews to use high pressurized fans to ventilate it out.

McKeen Metro remains closed on Sunday afternoon after a fire next door. (Sam Houpt/CTV News Ottawa)Hydro Ottawa cut power to the building, as a precaution.

There is approximetely $700,000 in damage, according to Ottawa Fire.The cause of the fire is currently unclear.

The Glebe Apothecary has been a staple of Bank Street for decades. The pharmacy is run as a Shoppers Drug Mart, but is unique for having kept its vintage facade with no distinct markers for the national chain on the outside. 

There are no residences inside the building, Ottawa Fire says.

Residents in the quiet neighbourhood say they were surprised to see the size and intensity of the fire.

Bystander AJ Pratt was taking their daughter to swimming when they saw the smoke going all the way down Bank Street.

“Smoke was coming out all the cracks of the building – I figured it was going to come down,” Pratt said.

“The fact that the building is still standing right now I think is pretty awesome. They obviously did a fantastic job”

Resident Ethan Bond was working nearby.

“For Sunday morning, I wasn’t expecting anything that different. I thought it was going to be like any other day,” Bond said.

“You see fire trucks running up and down here all the time because of the station nearby, but they were all coming through here,” said resident Chris McNaught.

A firefighter sweeps up glass and water from the sidewalk out front of the Glebe Apothecary on Mar. 24, 2024 (Sam Houpt/CTV News)

“A lot of it going up into the sky – it was very bizarre to see so early in the morning.”

Firefighters asked people to avoid the area between Second and Third avenues while they were on scene.

The investigation into what caused the fire is ongoing. 

With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Sam Houpt and William Eltherington

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