Environment Canada was advising residents in Montreal to take caution on Friday as a major fire at heritage building downtown has caused pollution levels to rise.

A special air quality statement was in effect for the entire Island of Montreal noting that "pollution levels are above normal and expected to persist until midday."

The advisory has since been dropped.

"Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk," Environment and Climate Change Canada said in its statement.

"People with lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD, can be particularly sensitive to air pollution. They will generally experience more serious health effects at lower levels."

Environment Canada advised those on medication to pay particular attention to symptoms.

Firefighters were still fighting the blaze at the former Monastère du Bon-Pasteur Friday morning. The building in the Ville-Marie borough was built in 1846 at the corner of Sherbrooke and de Bullion Streets.

Twenty-seven people were taken in by the Red Cross and a man in his 80s was hospitalized. 

Montreal temperatures are expected to hit 21 degrees Celsius on Friday and drop to 12 overnight.