February 7, 2010

News: CTV Ottawa newsroom destroyed, news archives damaged in fire

A number of news outlets have reported that a four-alarm fire completely gutted the CTV Ottawa newsroom earlier this morning.

The CTV Ottawa studio building, located at 1500 Merivale Road, has suffered at least $2.5 million in damage.  The office building adjacent to the studio remains intact.  The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

As a temporary measure, CTV Ottawa will broadcast its news from the ‘A’ building in the Byward Market.  ‘A’ Ottawa has not mounted local evening newscasts since March 2009.

CTV Ottawa’s news archives have been damaged.  It’s sad to see 49 years of history disappear like this.  CTV Ottawa can rebuild, but much of its history is now available only on VHS tapes, DVD-Rs and other consumer media.

The real tragedy is how negligent CJOH/CTV Ottawa has been in preserving its history.  If CTV Ottawa hasn’t backed up its archives, then it has lost an irreplaceable part of itself.  I’m not a Max Keeping fan by any means, but no one deserves to have his/her life’s work – 37 years for Keeping – literally go up in flames.  This is a truly sad day for Canadian television.

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