Pub ar­son ru­mour un­founded, fire ser­vices spokesman says

Cheshire Cat blaze probe in early stages

Ottawa Citizen - - CITY - TERESA SMITH te­smith@ot­tawac­i­t­i­ twit­

Ot­tawa Fire Ser­vices spokesman Marc Messier says “chat­ter” sug­gest­ing Mon­day’s fire at the Cheshire Cat Pub could be part of a string of ar­sons is un­founded.

But his as­sur­ance might not come as a re­lief to the anx­ious west-end res­i­dents won­der­ing on so­cial me­dia whether the $700,000 fire that de­stroyed the his­toric pub is some­how con­nected to three other fires in the area in the past two years.

Even Ot­tawa Coun­cil­lor Eli El-Chan­tiry said he asked the fire chief on Mon­day whether the fires could be re­lated.

“I ad­mit it crossed my mind, even be­fore I saw the com­ments on Face­book and Twit­ter,” El-Chan­tiry said.

The fire chief told him it was “pre­ma­ture” to rule out any­thing.

“Ob­vi­ously, they’re in­ves­ti­gat­ing and they’re go­ing through the process be­cause each fire has its own story,” said the coun­cil­lor for West Car­leton-March.

Messier, the fire de­part­ment spokesman, said a $2.5-mil­lion fire that started in the kitchen at the Thun­der­bird Sports Cen­tre in Fe­bru­ary 2011 was ac­ci­den­tal.

“It was due to an elec­tri­cal fail­ure,” he said.

Like­wise, the pro­vin­cial fire mar­shal blamed a mal­func­tion of the heat­ing sys­tem for a blaze at Carp Agri­cul­tural Hall ex­actly a year ago Mon­day. In that case, a gas-fired wall heater ig­nited the wall on the sec­ond floor of the build­ing, caus­ing $100,000 in dam­age.

The cause of a May 2012 fire that de­stroyed a nearby ban­quet hall called the West Car­leton Meet­ing Cen­tre is un­known, Messier said. But fire ser­vices aren’t treat­ing that fire, which caused $2 mil­lion in dam­age, as sus­pi­cious.

Messier said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the lat­est fire is still in early stages, but of­fi­cials are look­ing at sur­veil­lance tape from the pub’s cam­eras to see if any­thing un­to­ward hap­pened be­fore it be­gan.

How­ever, the build­ing at 2193 Richard­son Side Rd. was “se­cure” when fire­fight­ers ar­rived at around 4 a.m., “in­di­cat­ing the fire started in­side,” he said.

“I don’t know where all the chat­ter about this be­ing an ar­son” is coming from, Messier added.

“None of those fires were ruled to be ar­son.”

Ot­tawa po­lice Const. Marc Soucy said the ar­son unit takes its cues from the fire mar­shal and is not in­volved in this in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“If he asks for our help, we’ll be there. If there are con­nec­tions, we will find them,” said Soucy.

No one was in­jured in any of the fires.


Fire de­stroyed the Cheshire Cat Pub on Richard­son Side Road in Carp early Mon­day. There is no in­di­ca­tion ar­son was in­volved, a fire spokesman says. No in­juries re­ported.

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