Explosion, major fire in south Ottawa sends 2 to hospital

January 13, 2022
Explosion, major fire in south Ottawa sends 2 to hospital

Two people were rushed to hospital after an explosion and fire on Merivale Road in Ottawa’s south end, according to police and paramedics.

Firefighters received multiple 911 calls Thursday at around 1:30 p.m. about a large fire on Merivale between Cleopatra Drive and Slack Road, in the city’s Nepean area.

An Ottawa Fire Services spokesperson told CBC News that 911 callers reported seeing flames 15 to 18 metres in the air. He said the building that was on fire and the surrounding area were quickly evacuated.

Paramedics said they took two people to hospital, but did not disclose the nature of their injuries.

As of 3:30 p.m., crews were fighting a defensive battle against the blaze, according to acting fire chief Paul Hutt.

“There was heavy flame and smoke coming from this building,” said Hutt in an interview from the scene. “It is currently an active fire right now … we will have further updates once we have the fire under control.”

‘It was scary’

Police say they closed Merivale between West Hunt Club and Macfarlane roads due to the fire.

Mario Mainville, who works nearby with Freedom Harley-Davidson, described hearing about a dozen “booms” coming from the building. 

“Now we see big white smoke. We saw the building going down,” he said about an hour after the explosion was reported.

Smoke rises in the distance following an explosion and fire on Merivale Road in Ottawa’s south end on Thursday afternoon. (Submitted)

When Renée Burwell walked out of a nearby Canadian Tire where she’d been shopping, she noticed a giant “wall of smoke” in the distance.

As she drove past, she pulled over and quickly shot some footage on her phone.

“I was scared, I was anxious, I was worried,” she said. “I was really worried if there was people inside and if anyone was hurt. I really just wanted them to [extinguish] the fire. It was scary.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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