Firefighters put out a four-alarm fire in Verdun, but were not able to save the building, leaving residents of five apartments without homes.

The fire broke out around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. on Osborne St. near Bannantyne Ave.Several people were evacuated from the building, which is the last in a row of townhouses on the street. There are six apartments in the building, but one was not occupied.

One firefighter suffered minor injuries, and residents of the five destroyed apartments have lost everything.

"I don't know what to do right now," said Matthew Edwards, whose family was the only one at home.

Edwards, his girlfriend, their children and his sister-in-law grabbed what they good and ran for their lives.

"All the rest of the tenants, most of them were at work, so that's the good thing. But the building... the building is totalled. I don't think they can do anything with the building now."

A fire department spokesperson said the fire began in a shed on one of the upper balconies of the three-storey building, and spread rapidly.

Firefighters were able to prevent the flames from spreading to the neighbouring buildings.

"They broke the windows, they broke the doors. They went on the roof and broke the roof and there was lots and lots of smoke coming out of here," said Manon Cayer.

The Red Cross has offered temporary housing for the people who are homeless, and is providing funding so they can pick up essentials.

"They gave us vouchers for Zellers and that, so we're going to go get clothes at Zellers and pretty much work from there and see what we can do," said Edwards.

His mother is shocked by what happened.

"Never in a million years would I have thought this," said Judy Edwards, who came to her son's home and watched it burn. "You can't do anything about it. You stand back and watch."

She will, however, gladly help her son and family while they find a new place to live.

"We'll stick together and we'll get through it. That's what we're here for."