More than 65 people are homeless after a fire swept through a row of townhouses in Nepean on March 12.
Firefighters spent hours battling the four-alarm blaze on Northview Road.
The fire hit 32 units in a row of Minto townhouses, causing up to $3.5-million-worth of damage.
No injuries have been reported.
Dispatchers received the first 911 calls -- more than dozen -- reporting smoke and flames around 12:30 p.m. By 2:14 p.m. firefighters had upgraded the fire to four alarms, with crews from four stations working to get it under control.
Jacek, who did not want to use his last name, lives in one of the units evacuated during the fire. He described his escape as a close call.
“There were fire trucks, I saw the hoses hooked up, and as I’m getting ready to go out the door, a fireman comes up and says, ‘There’s a fire, get out,’” he said.
“Then about five minutes later, once we were outside and I saw the flames licking our section of the building that was on fire, then our alarm went off.”
Fortunately, Jacek said, his wife and children were out of the building when the fire started, having left for a walk to a nearby store.
“I felt all right, because I knew my wife was out with the kids for a walk,” he said.
Victim services, the Salvation Army canteen and OC Transo were at the scene providing temporary shelter and assistance. Fire spokesperson Danielle Cardinal said Minto is working to provide shelter for the displaced families who have nowhere else to go.
“Minto has been exceptional in taking care of residents and making sure they’re OK,” Cardinal said.
“They’re trying to find them vacant spaces, they’re opening up the reception centre for them at 30 Eleanor Dr. They’ve done everything they can.”
In many cases, she said, neighbours have stepped up to offer support.
“Even the community feel around those buildings has been awesome,” she said.
“People taking in pets and keeping them warm. This is a tragedy, but there have been some really good stories emerging from this particular tragedy that restore my faith in humankind.”