A relative of a Carlington-area family who lost a two-year-old boy in a house fire Monday night yesterday identified the young victim as Khalid Ali.
Abdi Rizak Warsame, the boy’s great-uncle, remembered the boy, who died after a fire broke out in unit 90 of 1500 Caldwell Avenue just before 7:30 p.m., as a “very happy, active child, very friendly.
“Every time I came to visit, he jumped all over me,” Warsame said yesterday. “He was very happy and kind.”
The boy’s parents, Abdi Ali and Fatuma Hersi, and their six other children, are in shock, Warsame said.
“It’s very tough,” he said.
Yesterday, the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office, city police and firefighters sifted through debris at the scene to determine where and how the fire started, said Ottawa Fire Chief of Special Operations Kim Ayotte.
Neighbours were also in shock yesterday.
“It’s horrifying,” said Laura Cochran, who lives nearby.
Her husband, Bill Doan, was just coming home at 7:45 p.m. when he saw the fully involved fire.
“I saw a gentleman trying to get into the house, and the firefighters were holding him back,” he said. “The flames were shooting out of the windows and going straight up past the roof. It was just chaos.”
Neighbour Tammy Guigue remembers seeing Khalid play outside.
“He was always out here laughing and playing and he never left his mother’s side,” Guigue said. “He was a normal happy two-year-old.”
Eight homes in the complex were evacuated, said Sergeant Michael Haarbosch with the Ottawa Police Arson Unit.
Abdi Rizak Karod, the director of the Somali Centre for Family Services, said he knows the boy’s father through the volunteer work he’s done for the Somali community over 15 years.
The family came from Somalia about 18 years ago, he said.
The centre and the Carlington Community Centre are both organizing fundraisers for the family.