MONTREAL - A major fire ripped through a five-unit building at 2553 Sheppard Monday night, leaving 10 people homeless.

About 100 firefighters were called in to fight the raging flames at about 10 p.m. Monday, which leaped from the first floor upwards, due to what is believed to be an electrical fault.

Investigators believe that the fire might also have been caused by excess lint in a clothes dryer.

"A dryer has an electric element that heats the drum and if the lint touches it, it can catch fire and it spreads pretty quickly," said Francis Leduc of the Montreal Fire Department.

One firefighter was sent to hospital to treat broken ribs he suffered when he slipped on the icy surface caused by the frozen water.

Twenty residents were evacuated from their units during the blaze - which caused at least $250,000 in damages -  but half of them were later permitted to return.

Many of the residents were from the same extended family and the building had been in that family's hands since 1983.

“It’s very difficult but the most important thing for me is that the people inside it are okay. It’s just bricks. Maybe there’s memories there but nobody got hurt, nobody got burned, I think I’ll be able to move on,” said landlord Manny Pimentel.

His sister expressed sorrow over the loss, however.

"I was glad that we were all out safe and sound and I thought of my dad," said Gaby Pimentel, the landlord's sister. "Because that was his dream. He never had anything in his life. In one way I'm glad he's dead. He doesn't see this," she said.