After a fire

On this page

Immediately after and the first 24 hours after the fire

Firefighters have done their job. The fire is out, and they have done some of the basic clean-up work in order to help protect and salvage your belongings.

Note: Restaurants and other food establishments must cease all operations until inspected and cleared by the Ottawa Public Health Unit.

As part of putting out the fire, firefighters may have:

  • Broken windows or cut holes in the roof to release superheated smoke
  • Made inspection holes in the interior walls and ceilings to check for hidden fire

As a first step following a fire:

  • Call your landlord, if applicable
  • Call your insurance provider
  • Record the date, time, and Ottawa Fire Services incident number (Note: If you did not receive the incident number, contact or call 613-580-2860)

If you can return to your home:

  • Call Hydro and/or your heating provider to have services restored
  • Have wet/damaged appliances serviced professionally before use
  • Never try to restore services yourself
  • Take photos of the property and your belongings for your insurance claim, if required

If you cannot return to your home:

  • If your home is inhabitable, Ottawa Fire Services crews on scene can connect you with the Canadian Red Cross to arrange for food, shelter and essential supplies
  • Contact relatives, friends, employers, schools, daycares, etc. and update them on your situation
  • Notify your financial institution
  • Notify public utilities (Bell, Hydro One/Ottawa, Gas/Propane/Oil provider, alarm company, etc.)
  • Ask Canada Post to hold your mail
  • Notify government services if you need to replace documents/identification
  • Check with your insurer to see if you are covered for food and lodging expenses or are eligible for cash advances

Turning off the water service

To have your building’s water turned off, visit Drinking water - Frequently asked questions or call 311. Access to your building may be prohibited by Ottawa Fire Services until the investigation of the cause and circumstances of the fire is completed.

The first few days after a fire

  • Provide a contact phone number and temporary address, if applicable, to interested parties such as insurers, adjusters, Fire Investigators, etc.
  • List all destroyed/damaged items, assets and documents including details such as
    • brand, model, and colour
    • serial number
    • cost
    • date of purchase, etc.
  • Have services restored, and systems and appliances turned on, if possible
  • Contact your insurance adjustor before starting any renovation or construction work
  • Check that the contractor has obtained a building permit before starting any renovation or construction work
  • Keep all your receipts (gas, food, hotel, clothing, etc.) for later filings if applicable

Important Information

  • The Canadian Mental Health Association has information to assist you and family members if a loved one has been injured or lost in a fire
  • Contact your local employment centre, if applicable, to inform them of any special needs
  • Clothing, food and temporary shelter can be found via family or support organizations, such as the Canadian Red Cross
  • For building owner – tenant disputes following a fire, contact the Landlord and tenant board of Ontario

Actions for owners after a fire

  • Have your electricity checked and turned back on by a certified electrician. 
  • Have your heating system checked by a qualified technician before turning it back on
  • Have your solid fuel-fired appliance checked by a qualified technician before turning it back on
  • Contact your heating fuel provider (natural gas, propane, oil, etc.) to restore services
  • Dispose of all food in the house – it is no longer edible
  • Replace all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Have the sprinkler system checked by a qualified technician