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Highrise fire sends 9 people to hospital with smoke inhalation

 A fire in a highrise building on Wurtemburg Street in Lowertown sent nine people to hospital — including three children and a police officer — for smoke inhalation.

The fire broke out in unit 603 at 215 Wurtemburg St., a highrise apartment building managed by Ottawa Community Housing near Rideau Street and the Rideau River, at about 2:15 a.m. Wednesday.

Ottawa police arrived first and started to alert people in the building to the fire and help them outside to wait in OC Transpo buses dispatched to the scene, paramedics said in a media release.

Heavy smoke conditions were reported on multiple floors inside the building, according to the fire department. 

Crews had to use a ladder to get some people out of the building safely.

Nine people were treated by paramedics for smoke inhalation and taken to hospital. They were all in stable condition, paramedics said. Another four people were assessed at the scene but didn't need to go to hospital.

About 120 people live in the building and were not allowed back into their homes after the fire, according to Ottawa fire department spokesperson Danielle Cardinal. 

Ottawa Community Housing said Wednesday afternoon that all but 11 of the building's 114 units were safe to return to that day.

About 70 of the 120 temporarily displaced residents spent the morning at a reception centre set up by the Red Cross at the St-Laurent Complex on Coté Street. Other people left to stay with family or friends, Cardinal said.

The fire was knocked down by about 2:45 a.m., firefighters said.

The fire has been deemed accidental by investigators, with its exact cause unknown.

Damage is estimated at $300,000 to the building and its contents.

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