Man and woman homeless after west-end Ottawa house fire

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Man and woman homeless after west-end Ottawa house fire

Officials are investigating after a fire in Ottawa's west end Sunday night left a man and a woman homeless.

Firefighters got a call about a chimney fire at about 9:15 p.m. Sunday at a home on Borden Street in the Crystal Bay neighbourhood, west of Bayshore.

A smoke alarm sounded, alerting the elderly couple of the fire. They called 911 and reported heavy smoke and an orange glow in the area of the smoke alarm, so dispatchers advised them to leave the house immediately.

The flames spread from the chimney into the house's attic space and to the roof and eaves, firefighters said.

By 10:13 p.m. crews had the fire under control, and the Salvation Army and Red Cross attended to help the man and woman.

No injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire was deemed accidental, with the point of origin in the chimney. Damage is estimated at $100,000.

Firefighters credit working smoke alarms for helping the couple notify 911 promptly and get out of the house safely.

"If the owners had been asleep upstairs and unaware of what was occurring on the main floor, the fire could have rapidly extended to other parts of the home," said a media release from Ottawa Fire Services. "This scenario could have proven far more devastating had the smoke alarm not alerted the occupants of the emergency."

In light of this incident, fire officials offered these smoke alarm tips and advice:

- New construction requires that smoke alarms be installed in every sleeping quarter.

- Smoke alarms should be installed outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home.

- New smoke alarms are available with an audible alarm and a strobe light.

- Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

- Make sure everyone in the home knows how to respond when a smoke alarm goes off.

- Replace smoke alarms when they're 10 years old or sooner.

Updating clocks for Daylight Savings Time this weekend is a good opportunity to change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, firefighters added.