For the second time in less than two weeks fire has destroyed multiple homes in the Plateau.

Thursday morning's fire is the fifth in the neighbourhood since the end of July.

This blaze started at 3 a.m. Thursday, on the second-floor balcony at the back of 1665 Marie-Anne St.

It spread quickly from the residential building's balcony to the third-floor roof, and then to two adjacent triplexes.

Catherine Quinn only had time to grab her bag as she fled her home.

"My stepmother was sleeping in the back room and she just screamed," said Quinn. "She saw the fire and she screamed 'fire,' and I took my daughter, ran downstairs barefoot, t-shirt. That's it."

Frederick Brault hustled his children out of his home when he heard the alarms.

"We took the kids out of the house and then I went to pick up my car. I saw that the two upper floors were burning, the balconies at the back," said Brault.

Fifteen people from seven units had to leave their homes.

At one point, 125 firefighters were called to the scene, battling the blaze for two hours before the fire was brought under control.

Worried neighbours

Eric Gaskell is one of many people living in the neighbourhood who is worried about the extent of the damage, and how often fires are occuring.

"On my commute to work there's a couple of devastated areas that it really makes me concerned," said Gaskell.

Police do suspect a firebug started several other fires, including one on St. Andre north of Roy where half a dozen triplexes and duplexes were destroyed a week and a half ago.

The Montreal police arson squad has investigated the Marie-Anne St. fire, but does not think an arsonist is responsible.

Marc Gervais, who owns the triplex damaged in Thursday's fire, says he will keep a close eye on his other buildings.

"Me, I have another building in the Plateau and I can tell you one thing, I will be going by there this afternoon," said Gervais.

Taking care of victims

The Red Cross, working in conjunction with the city of Montreal and Sun Youth, will look after the victims.

In all, 22 people are being housed in Montreal-area hotels for the next three days.