There were few details on exactly how the fire started, but the patron of one of the businesses destroyed in the blaze said it was connected with ongoing roof repairs. "A couple of the construction worker who were working on the roof next door said they were laying down tar and then something caught on fire and then everything went up," Mackenzie Lake told the Ottawa Citizen. The fire, reported shortly after 11 a.m., kept firefighters busy for three hours, with flames and acrid smoke visible more than a mile away. In addition to the first-floor businesses, the building housed apartments on the second floor. Firefighters were able to help all the residents safely out of the building.
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