Owner plans to relocate after massive fire at oil-delivery company
Published Saturday, December 1, 2012 4:27PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, December 1, 2012 6:43PM EST
Firefighters now say the massive fire that tore through an oil-delivery business in east end Montreal Friday was accidental.
The longstanding company, Bouthilier et Rioux Inc., was reduced to rubble Friday as thick plumes of smoke wafted through the neighbourhood and as many as 2,200 residents lost power.
The owner of the business, Sylvain Vaillancourt, was on vacation in Mexico when the flames broke out. He rushed back Friday night to tend to the family business.
“I've got this business for 21 years, and I'm the third generation,” he said. “It's a tough one.”
Vaillancourt used the building at 1955 Bossuet St.for his heating oil delivery service and was just getting into the thick of his season, which only lasts about four months.
His main concern is supporting his 30 employees.
“It's difficult. It’s a small business, so we are a like a family and my employees are pretty close with me, but I'll make it. I'll get through it,” he said.
It's not yet clear what caused the accidental fire, but the oil-filled delivery trucks inside the garage fuelled the intense flames.
Though some residents evacuated their homes temporarily, and power was briefly cut off, incredibly, none of the homes in the residential area were significantly damaged.
Firefighters say it’s thanks to the direction of the wind, otherwise the entire neighbourhood could have burned down.
Local resident Line Le Strat’s yard faced the fire. She called it a miracle her home wasn’t damaged.
“It was like in a second -- boom boom boom! -- and with the fire everywhere,30 feet high… It was very, very impressive and I was in the kitchen. I could feel the heat,” she said.
Resident Giuseppe Gagliano is asking questions.
“What’s an industrial building doing in a residential area? Shouldn't it be further out from the city?” he said,
Vaillancourt has moved swiftly to seek out a new location for his business.
He plans to relocate and rebuild.
“I’ve already got a place and I'm ready to move on,” he said.