Firefighters endure numbing cold while fighting blaze



Tim Wieclawski/metro ottawa


Workers prepare to tow a car from the driveway at 235 Irving Place after a fire destroyed the house.


The residents of a house that was destroyed by fire early yesterday weren’t home at the time — and investigators were still looking for them as of last night.

It’s thought the residents are on vacation and that the house was empty when fire started at 235 Irving Place at 1:55 a.m. yesterday, said District Fire Chief Jim Corrigan.

The two-storey house was full engulfed when fire crews arrived. Neighbours told Metro the occupants had moved into the house in October, including two young men who were believed to be in the early 20s.

Kathryn Fulford, who lives next door, hadn’t yet learned the residents’ names. She said residents normally host a street party at Christmas, but it didn’t happen this year.

“If we had of had a party, they would have been invited and that would have broke the ice,” she said.

Fulford’s house shares a gas line with 235 Irving Place and she and her husband Maurice were forced out of their home this morning while firefighters battled the blaze.

Neighbours offered to take the couple in, but Red Cross disaster relief workers arranged for the Fulfords to spend last night in a hotel, since their house’s gas line remained shut down.

“It’s amazing how people come to the aid of people when something like this happens,” she said.

Fifty-one firefighters in 19 vehicles rotated between fighting the blaze and trying to keep warm. The temperature dropped to -32C with the wind chill and firefighters could only work for about 30 minutes at a time.

“We do get cold, so we have to give guys rehabilitation, especially if they’re on the hose lines and getting wet,” said Corrigan.

Fire crews were on the scene until 10 a.m., snuffing out spot fires.

Not the best way to start a year

  • No injuries are reported but damage to the house is estimated at $450,000 to the structure and contents.