A 66-year-old man died in an early morning fire on Appleton Avenue in Cote-des-Neiges. 

Approximately 70 firefighters responded to the call when it came in around 6:40 a.m.

A man, the owner of the two-storey building, was found unconscious in his second floor apartment. Firefighters attempted CPR, but the man remained unconscious en route to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

"At the arrival of the fire department, they controlled the situation, did some searches, and found a man unconscious inside the apartment," said Jean-Pierre Brabant of the SPVM. "The man was rushed to hospital and unfortunately he was pronounced dead."

A firefighter also fractured his arm and leg during the intervention.

"He fell into a hole that was caused by the fire," Brabant said. 

Firefighters say the second floor of the apartment is a total loss, with thousands of dollars' worth of damage.

People in the area were shocked and saddened by the fire and the damage it caused.

"It's quite hard to see when people are being displaced right before Christmas," said one local resident.

Waleed Ahmed, a man living on nearby Appleton St., has his doors open if anyone needs help.

"I do have here furnished apartments close by, so I could accomodate anyone if they need immediate help," he said. "My house is also open to anyone."

The Red Cross has also stepped up, offering shelter, clothing vouchers, and food.  

"For the first three days, our volunteers will provide those services," said Stephanie Picard of the Red Cross.

The investigation was transferred to the Montreal Police arson squad, who have yet to establish the cause of the fire.

According to Brabant, no criminal element is being explored at this time.