Fire destroys CJOH - tv newsroom in Ottawa; archives lost
OTTAWA (CP) — Anchor Max Keeping usually tells his audience about fires in his city, but Sunday he found himself reporting on the blaze that gutted his own newsroom.
The blaze early Sunday morning destroyed CTV’s Ottawa newsroom at its local station, CJOH-TV. Damages were estimated at more than $2.5 million, the network said on its website.
Among the losses were the local news archives of Ottawa’s history and the 37-year video history of Keeping, who is set to retire April 1, CTV said.
It could be days before staff can return to the building, but plans to continue production from the A Channel building in the Byward Market were moving forward, CTV said.
Newsroom staff have already held their first meeting about resuming broadcasting, Keeping said in an interview with CTV News Channel.
The station was to be on the air Sunday evening with local news during the Super Bowl and would have its local newscast Sunday night at 11:30 p.m., he said.
CTV stations in Montreal, Toronto and Saskatchewan were sending some cameras and edit suites to Ottawa, he added.
“ We have CTV facilities downtown that we’re going to immediately move into and broadcast. So we’re assuring the public that we’ll continue to present our information packages as normally as possible over the next couple of days and weeks,” said Keeping.
It’s not known what caused the blaze, which began on the second floor of the Merivale Road building sometime before 4:30 a.m.
It took 70 firefighters and 18 fire trucks more than two hours to bring the flames under control.
No injuries were reported however a security guard was in the building when the blaze broke out.
CJOH TV, which signed on back on March 12, 1961, broadcast the first “Question Period” and was home to shows such as ” You Can’t Do That on Television“ — which was Alanis Morissette’s first television show — ” The Galloping Gourmet“, ” The Amazing Kreskin,“ as well as two soap operas.