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Highrise residents ‘very stressed’ after 2nd fire in less than a week | CBC News

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Firefighters were back at a Donald Street highrise Friday night — the same building where eight people were taken to the hospital earlier this week following a suspicious fire. 

Ottawa Fire Services (OFS) said they received several 911 calls about the latest fire, with flames visible from the sixth-floor bedroom fire visible once crews arrived on the street.

The fire was brought under control by around 11:45 p.m., OFS said in a media release.

“It was inside of a particular unit,” Deputy Chief Nathan Adams told CBC News on Saturday morning, adding that investigators had already ruled out arson.

The unit belongs to Fatima Othman, who said she lives there with six other people. 

Othman said she’d been trying to fall asleep when, after about 10 minutes, she felt her legs getting hotter.

“When I looked [around], I saw the fire was everywhere in the bedroom,” she told Radio-Canada.

For now she and her family are living at a hotel. 

“We have nothing. All our money, the bank cards, the [permanent residence card], health cards, everything [was in our] unit. So we don’t have anything with us.”

Emergency crews were back at this highrise on Donald Street for the second time this week, following a bedroom fire late Friday night. The previous fire left eight people with injuries, three of whom were taken to hospital in critical condition. (Rebecca Kwan/Radio-Canada)

Safety taken seriously, says property manager

Adams said the seven people in Othman’s unit were the only ones displaced by Friday night’s fire. He said OFS implemented a fire watch overnight, which involves a crew remaining on scene out of abundance of caution.

“Some residents were certainly concerned about their safety, having had subsequent fires in two consecutive days,” he said. 

Paramedics said one patient was treated and released with minor injuries. 

 A spokesperson for Q Residential, which manages the property, said they were working with independent technicians “to examine the cause of last night’s fire.”

“We take resident safety very seriously,” the spokesperson told CBC News by email.

A blackened ceiling can be on the balcony of a unit in a highrise.
The bedroom fire, which isn’t believed to be suspicious, was brought under control shortly before midnight, according to the Ottawa Fire Services. (Rebecca Kwan/Radio-Canada)

Emergency crews were called to the same building on Thursday morning for a two-alarm fire that was deemed suspicious by mid-afternoon.

Ottawa’s fire chief said around 200 people were affected by Thursday’s blaze. Roughly 56 residents are still displaced. 

Of the eight people taken to the hospital, two children and a woman remain in critical condition.

Mohammed Rahman said people who live at the highrise are shaken by two fires in two days.

“We are very stressed,” said Rahman. “Mentally, we are sick right now … we don’t know what will happen [the] next time.”

Red Cross, Salvation Army helping

Beacon Hill-Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney, who represents the area, said he’s been working the Red Cross and Salvation Army to help people who’ve been displaced.

Tierney said they’ve found temporary housing, and is hopeful residents will be able to get back home soon.

“My understanding is the criminal component [of the police investigation] is now wrapping up, and they’ll be turning the property back to the property owner to do the renovations, cleanup and all things associated with the smoke damage,” Tierney said. 

“They’re being let in one-by-one based on what the property manager deems is acceptable. They want to make sure it’s [safe] for the people to come back in.”

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