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5-alarm fire forces evacuation of Montreal home for women at risk

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About 150 Montreal firefighters put out a blaze at a home for women at risk in the Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie borough.

The fire broke out shortly before 9 a.m. at the Maison Marguerite, a non-profit organization that offers permanent and temporary housing for women at risk.

The building on the corner of de Bellchasse and Lanaudiere streets was under renovation, and 37 women are now under the care of the Red Cross.

One woman's first instinct was to rescue her cat, Charlie.

"I panicked at first because I couldn't find him, but thankfully, got him out," said Mika Merisier.

One firefighter was taken to the hospital after injuring his ankle.

Some residents woke up to the blaring fire alarm.

"Employees woke, everyone up immediately, and everyone got out quickly," said resident Asima Benabdellah.

The fire spread to the second storey by mid-morning and then to the roof.

An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the blaze that started on the first floor.

The building is now uninhabitable, according to the fire department.

Maison Marguerite has been helping women for more than 45 years.

"They're very kind, they give advice [and] they help us a lot," said Merisier. 

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