Statement by Ottawa Community Housing on the Fire at 251 Donald Street

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UPDATE: 3:00PM – December 22nd

OCHC continues to support the rehousing of tenants following the fire at 251 Donald Street. As of this afternoon, December 22, all tenants have either returned home, been rehoused elsewhere or have received a firm offer for rehousing. Furthermore, as of yesterday tenants can return to the 3rd floor. In addition, all of the tenants who were temporarily placed in emergency housing have moved into more permanent accommodations.

This rehousing process was carried out with the tenants’ best interest in mind while providing the best outcome possible for everyone. We thank all OCHC Staff involved in the recovery efforts for their dedication and their professionalism. 

UPDATE – December 19th, 10:30AM

We are pleased that as of Saturday December 15th, tenants on floors 5 to 22 at 251 Donald Street have been allowed to return home. As of the afternoon of Tuesday December 18th, close to 90% of tenants living on those floors have moved back into their homes. We are happy to further announce that tenants on the 4th floor will be able to return to their homes as of today, Wednesday December 19th, at 10AM.

As noted in previous statements, the majority of the damages occurred on floors 2, 3, and 4. A total of 20 households will be temporarily relocated following the fire on December 12th. OCHC staff have been providing tenants with support and the rehousing team is working with people on an individual basis to find longer-term housing options. Tenants have begun moving into those longer-term accommodations as of yesterday, December 18th, 2018.

For any affected tenant who is seeking information, we continue to encourage them to contact our 24/7 Call Centre at 613-731-1182.

UPDATE: 10AM – 15 December 2018 CORRECTION

Tenants living on floors 5 TO 22 will be able to move back in their home today. thank you

UPDATE: 8AM – 15 December 2018

We are pleased to confirm that OCHC will welcome back tenants living on floors 5 to 21 this afternoon, Saturday December 15. OCHC has organized transportation of tenants in a phased and coordinated approach to ensure the safety and security of all.

Due to the damages to floors 2-3 and 4, these tenants will not be able to return to their homes. OCHC rehousing staff are providing support and looking at various longer-term housing options.

OCHC wishes to thank all affected tenants for their understanding and collaboration during this difficult time. We look forward to welcoming them back home.

UPDATE: 8:45PM – 14 Dec. 2018

Most building systems are now functioning. A final technical confirmation is expected early tomorrow morning, Saturday, December 15. Once received, OCHC will be able to communicate a firm timeline when tenants, living on floors 5 to 21, will be able to return home.

Due to the damages to floors 2-3 and 4, the return of these tenants cannot be determined at this time. OCHC rehousing staff will continue to provide them with support and looking at various longer-term housing options.

UPDATE: 3:00PM – 14 Dec. 2018

Significant progress has been made in reestablishing building systems, thanks to the hard work of OCHC staff in partnership with outside contractors.

OCHC and our partners continue their support of tenants off-site with meals and temporary housing, as needed. We have also been providing tenants with regular status updates.

We should have more information on a timeline for when tenants will be able to return home available this evening. Once an announcement has been made concerning the timeline, OCHC will be supporting a coordinated return, using a phased approach to ensure the safety and security of tenants.

UPDATE: 5:15PM – 13 Dec. 2018

Ottawa Fire Services and the Ontario Fire Marshall have completed their investigation and handed the property back to OCHC. There are currently 70 contractors working to restore building systems.

OCHC is continuing to assist tenants with temporary housing, meals, and support as needed, alongside our partners, the City of Ottawa, the Salvation Army, the Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre, the Ottawa Food Bank, and Options Bytown.

There are further inspections that need to take place on the property tomorrow, Friday, December 14th, 2018. These will help determine when tenants may be able to return. We will have a further update tomorrow.

We continue to encourage tenants of 251 Donald Street to contact our 24/7 Call Centre at 613-731-1182 with any questions.

UPDATE: 12:30PM – 13 Dec. 2018

Our staff are continuing to clear the scene at 251 Donald with local and provincial partners. It’s progressing well, but tenants still cannot return to the property. We are continuing to support tenants throughout the day as they remain off-site in temporary accommodations.

For tenants of 251 Donald who need assistance, please contact the 24/7 OCH Call Centre at 613-731-1182. Updates will continue to be posted here and on social media platforms.

UPDATE: 11 PM – 12 Dec. 2018

All tenants evacuated from 251 Donald and registered with the Red Cross were assigned emergency housing for the night. We currently do not have a specific return date for tenants that are temporarily relocated.

Any tenants living at 251 Donald that have not yet registered with the RedCross should call 3-1-1.

OCHC will continue to support tenants and provide updates on OCH social media platforms and website as they become available.

UPDATE: 7:20PM – 12 Dec. 2018

We can confirm at this time that tenants will not be able to return to the building while the building’s systems are restored.

OCHC will support all tenants as they are temporarily relocated. We are working with the City of Ottawa and our partners to determine their housing options. In the meantime, our team remains with the tenants off-site offering direct support, alongside partners such as the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Options Bytown, and the Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre. This includes providing a warm place and food for tenants as relocation plans are implemented.

All tenants present in the building at the time of the fire were evacuated.


Initial Statement:

OTTAWA, December 12, 2018 (10:25 AM) – Ottawa Community Housing has issued the following statement regarding the fire that occurred this morning at 251 Donald Street in the Overbrook area.

The health and safety of tenants is OCHC’s top priority. Our staff and CEO have been on site assisting tenants and continue to do so with our partners. While no life-threatening injuries have been sustained, some tenants have been treated for smoke inhalation.

We are grateful to Ottawa Fire Services for their swift action in rapidly bringing this fire under control and to all the emergency responders for their assistance with this incident.

We do expect that some tenants will be relocated following this incident. The full extent of these relocations, including number and duration, are still being evaluated.

OCHC is fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation being led by Ottawa Fire Services and the Ontario Fire Marshall. The Ontario Fire Marshall usually provides further information on the cause of the fire or the estimated damages following the investigation.

We would like to thank the Ottawa Fire Service, Ottawa Paramedic Service, the Ottawa Police Service, OC Transpo, Ottawa Hydro, the Canadian Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Options Bytown and Enbridge for their swift action as we support tenants through this situation.

Ottawa residents that wish to make donations can do so through the Red Cross at

About OCHC

Ottawa Community Housing (OCHC) provides approximately 15,000 homes to about 32,000 tenants, including seniors, parents, children, couples, singles and persons with special needs, within many communities across the City of Ottawa. OCHC houses a diverse population of varying languages, ethnicity and cultures. OCHC is the largest social housing provider in Ottawa, managing two-thirds of the City’s social housing portfolio, and is the second largest in Ontario. In 2017, OCH celebrated its 15th anniversary.

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