Apartments, businesses reduced to rubble in accidental Chinatown fire
Several online fundraisers have been launched to help the four businesses destroyed and four people left homeless after a massive fire tore through connected buildings in Chinatown on Wednesday.
A pile of rubble is all that is left on the corner of Percy Street and Somerset Street West after roofing work sparked a fire that burned for several hours, destroying The Daily Grind cafe, Middle East Bakery, Shiraz Food Market, A Dark Cloud tattoo parlour and four apartments.
Autumn Corvus, who lived in an apartment above Middle East Bakery and Shiraz Market, lost his 11-year-old cat in the fire. He thanked the generosity of the community for launching fundraisers, as he had no tenant insurance.
“It’s definitely a devastating loss for me. Everything I owned was in there but people have been so kind,” Corvus said. “I’m probably still in shock and not fully processing yet but I am so tremendously thankful and that’s gotten me through it.”
Ottawa Fire Services spokesperson Bob Rainboth said that some residents in homes neighbouring the fire were also displaced due to water damage. Crews used aerial ladders to douse the flames.
“The volume of water was extreme,” Rainboth said.
‘I go forward’
Shiraz Market owner Vali Shahheydari was watching a soccer game on the internet in the grocery store, which specializes in nuts, when someone ran in to tell him a fire broke out on the roof of the building Wednesday morning.
“Somebody told me, ‘Smoke is coming up.’ And so I (got) out,” Shahheydari said.
As difficult as it is to lose his business, he said he is prepared to move forward.
“Originally I come from Iran but I lived for 17 years in Eastern Europe. I had a hard life and I go forward,” he said.
Before demolishing the collapsing building, fire crews were able to salvage the outdoor sign for Middle East Bakery, Rainboth said.
“Our crews were able to dismantle it in a safe fashion and provide it to the owner because of the extreme sentiment that (the sign) had for the owner,” Rainboth said. “It’s a bit of good news that we were able to assist the owner with a piece of his business that he can remember and maybe bring back should they rebuild.”