An apartment block on south Osborne Street at Morley Avenue was evacuated on Wednesday afternoon after a kitchen fire destroyed a third floor suite.
Residents of some 16 suites were unharmed, but were left scrambling to find temporary homes.
Resident Freya Settee managed to grab her purse and cat quickly after the fire alarm was triggered around 4:30 p.m.
"I just thought it was a little kitchen fire," Settee said. "I didn't think it would end up burning the whole suite."
Several fire crews responded and closed down Osborne in the peak of rush hour. Platoon chief Ted Kuryluk said crews managed to contain the blaze to the roof area but that the cost of the damage is "totally unknown".
Osborne remained closed in the early evening. "Osborne will be shutdown for the duration (until the fire was extinguished)," Kuryluk said.
Witnesses said the fire started when a tenant left something on the stove unattended. Attempts by neighbouring residents to douse the fire were in vain, according to building caretaker Cyril Sinclair.
"They tried," he said, "but it was too much. The kitchen was already up."
Smoke and water damage was extensive. Residents were told not to enter the building for at least 24 hours.
"I hope it's still liveable and my stuff isn't ruined," Settee said, standing on the street. "Because I won't have anywhere to live....me or my cat."