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'I lost everything': Chateauguay collecting donations for dozens of families displaced by apartment building fire

Donations are being collected for dozens of families who were displaced from their homes in Chateauguay, Que. after their apartment building was gutted by fire on Thursday.

Some of the residents were brought to tears returning to the building at 39 Saint-Hubert St. Friday morning to see what was left.

One family who spoke to CTV News said they had lost everything, including their five-month-old's nursery.

Fire officials believe the fire started from a barbecue on the second floor and then spread to the roof of the four-storey building. All 36 units were evacuated but no serious injuries were reported.

The top floor and the roof were destroyed by the fire, which started on a balcony on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023. (Submitted)

One day after the fire, smoke detectors were still beeping inside the building as the strong smell of smoke filled the air. The top floor and the roof were destroyed by the blaze.

Displaced residents were offered to stay at a nearby hotel until Sunday and feel lucky to have made it out alive, given the extent of the damage.

"I lost everything," said Moustapha Diop, looking at the burned building on Friday. "I feel really sad for myself, my family, people living here. I don't know what to say."

32 apartment units were evacuated when a fire broke out in a Chateauguay apartment building on Thursday, August 24, 2023. (Source: Sherryann Parliament)

Matthew Onesi also came back to the scene Friday holding his five-month-old child.

"I feel devastated, completely lost," he said. "I'm happy that at least I have my boy and my wife. It's just a shame that we have to suffer and go through this and it's not necessary."

"I feel devastated, completely lost," said Matthew Onesi, holding his five-month-old son after the fire at his home on Saint-Hubert Street. (CTV News)

His partner, Bianca St-Jean, said the loss is "devastating."

"I lost everything and I know all 35 families also lost pretty much everything. It just sucks that that's how the summer had to end," she said.

Chateauguay Mayor Éric Allard said the city's housing department is trying to find the victims new places to live. In the meantime, the city set up a drop-off location at the Chateauguay cultural centre for donations to be collected until 8 p.m. and all day Saturday.

The city is asking for money, non-perishable food, school supplies and clothes. Top Stories

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