Ottawa woman, 81, dies in house fire

A woman is dead and two men seriously injured after a fire at this house,1140 Shillington Ave. in the Carlington area, photographed in Ottawa, Sunday Feb. 3, 2013.

Credits: Darren Brown/Ottawa Sun/QMI Agency


OTTAWA -- Andre Forgues will miss the bright smile and friendly wave he'd get every time he went out to feed the birds.

His long-time next door neighbour, Shirley Goyette, 81, died in a Saturday night house fire.

"It's sad," he says. "She was a lovely lady."

Forgues had cut back the trees separating their two properties so Goyette could see him from the window of her Shillington Ave. bungalow.

Sunday morning there was a new obstacle between the two -- police tape.

"The first thing I saw was the fire trucks flying down the street," Forgues said.

The trucks arrived just before 10 p.m., flames were shooting from the windows and plumes of smoke were rising into the air.

Forgues says it looked to him like the fire started in the living room.

When firefighters arrived at the scene Saturday night they found Goyette's son Jimmy, 56, and his partner Ronnie outside and in need of medical attention. That's when they were also told Goyette was still inside the burning home she'd lived in for more than 40 years.

They went in and found her in the living room with severe burns to her body. They brought her outside to waiting paramedics and she was declared deceased on the scene.

Witnesses told firefighters the two men had been in the basement when the fire broke out, came upstairs and discovered flames.

Ronnie got out while Jimmy tried to save his mom. But, while attempting to pull her out, he lost hold of her, became disoriented in the heavy smoke and decided to flee for his life.

When he tried to go back in, neighbours held him back -- as the fire was already spreading to the attic. Both men suffered "significant smoke inhalation," according to paramedics, and one of them had second-degree burns to his face.

Goyette's son had moved in about three years ago after her husband Roger passed away, according to Forgues. He said Goyette had suffered a stroke and had regular help from home care with bathing and meals.

"They are a very nice family," he said. "It's so sad."

Forgues said she is not only survived by Jimmy, but an older son as well -- Ricky, who took over the family's Parkway Landscaping business in Stittsville, Ont.

"She was always smiling at me," he said. "I'll miss that."

Firefighters had the blaze knocked down within an hour. Damage is estimated around $400,000.

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