Residents of 15 homes and apartments have been displaced and a criminal investigation is underway after multiple overnight fires in Owen Sound.

As many as 10 people were taken to hospital after numerous residential fires tore through Owen Sound early Monday. All the fires have since been extinguished and all the injured released from hospital.

Officials say those injured suffered non-life threatening injuries due to the fires and that several people were forced from their homes due to concerns about smoke inhalation.

The fires were first reported around 4 a.m. in the area of St. Mary's Hill, and all were reported within just blocks of each other.

Residents tell CTV News' Scott Miller that they have never seen anything like it, and many are on edge, adding they believe they are connected and there could be an arsonist on the loose.

Resident Don Courtney says, "You don't know whether it's kids, or somebody that's come into town, whether they've got a grudge against somebody, it's just scary. It's just scary."

Residents say they have heard a gas soaked towel was put in the fuel tank of the car and lit, but officials have not confirmed that, and won't say definitively that this is an arson case.

On 4th Avenue a fire ripped through an apartment complex, gutting 10 units. A car near the complex was also set ablaze.

Meanwhile on 15th Avenue a home was destroyed and two neighbouring homes sustained significant damage.

Up the street, a duplex was heavily damaged and there were three other more minor fires in the area, bringing the total to eight separate fire locations.

Several other homes in the area had to be evacuated. A total 15 people have been displaced due to damage or evacuations.

As a result of the fires the City of Owen Sound has announced the following closures will continue indefinitely:

  • 15th Street East between 3rd Avenue East & 6th Avenue East
  • 16th Street East between 3rd Avenue East & 4th Avenue East
  • 4th Avenue East between 13th Street East & 16th Street East
  • 14th Street East between 3rd Avenue East & 4th Avenue East

The cause of the fires is unknown at this time and a total damage estimate has not been released.

The United Way is co-ordinating support and donations for the fire victims who have been displaced. Those wishing to make donations can call 211 or visit

Police say there will also be extra police patrols on the streets, but residents are being asked to remain vigilant, keep security lights on and keep sheds and garages secure.

Owen Sound police and investigators from the Ontario Fire Marshal's Office are continuing their investigation.

Fire location breakdown

  • 944 2nd Avenue East, 2:45 a.m. - resident extinguishes two small fires in common areas of retail and residential apartment building, minimal damage
  • 393 15th Street East, 3:45 a.m. - residential fire, house totally destroyed and houses on each side significantly damage
  • 4th Avenue East just south of 15th Street East, 3:45 a.m. - fire at south end of townhouse complex, two structures consumed by fire, occupants assisted, vehicle in parking lot also attempted to be set on fire but minimal damage
  • 13th Street and 4th Avenue East, 4 a.m. - shed on property set on fire, spread to adjacent duplex, significant fire damage
  • 17th Street and 6th Avenue East, just after 4 a.m. - fire in residential shed, significant fire damage.
  • 4th Avenue East south of 13th Street East - arson attempt discovered at shed, fire appears to have extinguished on its own, no serious damage