‘Ottawa’ Kanata Toddler in Critical Condition After Fire in Nursery
A Kanata family spent the day at their son’s bedside at CHEO on Wednesday after an overnight fire left the toddler with severe burns to his face and limbs.
The boy’s father, Chris McNeil, 35, was also treated in hospital for smoke inhalation after fire broke out in the child’s room around 2 a.m. at 84 Gowrie Drive in the Glen Cairn neighbourhood in Kanata.
A family friend said McNeil credited a working smoke detector for possibly saving the family’s lives.
“He said if it wasn’t for the smoke detector they probably wouldn’t be here today. It was in the middle of the night, so they were all sleeping,” said friend Amanda LeGoueff, who said she exchanged messages with McNeil early Wednesday. “He said everything was OK, considering what happened.”
Initial reports from Ottawa fire officials indicated the fire might have spread to the child’s crib.
Investigators with the Ontario Fire Marshal said it could be months before they pinpoint the exact cause. Fire investigator Peter Hamilton confirmed the fire originated in the child’s bedroom on the second floor, but he said the cause has not been determined.
The fire is not being treated as suspicious, and the house has been turned back over to the homeowners.
Neighbours said the McNeil family — Chris and Tammy McNeil, with their son, identified as Cody in an online fundraising campaign — moved into the townhouse a few months ago.
LeGoueff said the family had speculated the fire might have started with a humidifier in the child’s room, but added, “They don’t know for sure,” she said.
Hamilton said the Fire Marshal removed several “exhibits” from the scene for off-site testing, “and once we’ve completed all of that we’ll be able to give a more formalized opinion.”
The Fire Marshal estimated at least $30,000 damage to the home and contents.
Firefighters called to the home around 2 a.m. applied first aid to the child and sheltered him in a fire truck until paramedics arrived.
Officials said the 18-month-old suffered severe burns to his face and hands.
Paramedics applied specialized burn dressing and advanced life support to the child on the way to hospital.
The child was in critical condition upon arrival at CHEO with his mother.
The fire was under control by 2:40 a.m.
Fire officials reminded homeowners to check and maintain their smoke detectors, saying a working smoke alarm “absolutely” contributed to the outcome of Wednesday’s fire.
“They had working smoke alarms on both floors of the home … that certainly played a role in an early morning detection system here in the house,” said Hamilton.
While Hamilton said “it doesn’t apply in this case,” he also reminded homeowners to use common sense and “take great care” to keep anything with an energy source a safe distance from flammable objects.