Roughly 20 people were forced to evacuate a triplex in Montreal’s Southwest borough after a five-alarm fire broke out on Tuesday afternoon.
Firefighters received a call just after 1 p.m. regarding the fire on St-Charles. They said the fire started in the building’s basement. It engulfed the building and spread to a neighbouring structure.
No injuries were reported.
Over 120 firefighters were called to the scene and as of 4:00 p.m., firefighters said the fire was almost under control.
The extreme cold weather made it difficult for firefighters to do their job and more firefighters had to be brought in that usual, said Montreal fire department operations director Martin Guilbeault.
“We have about 100 firefighters on the scene and we do that because, you know, it's freezing weather for a couple of days. We're trying to do a rotation of our firefighters. So firefighters are working inside the building and they come out they're freezing, so we get some other firefighters and change the staff all the time,” he explained.
Guilbeault said over the weekend firefighters responded to several fires where they discovered there was no working smoke detector.
“We had a lot of fire the last few days and some of them were not having smoke detectors working or properly installed in that building. So that's important to repeat and repeat and repeat to everyone,” he urged.
Firefighters have yet to determine the cause of the blaze on St-Charles and whether or not smoke detectors were working.
The families that live in the six-unit building will be without a home for some time.
Neighbour Corinne Laflamme said she was shaken up by the incident and it served as a reminder.
“I was at the gym and I came home and I was like what's going on? I got super scared,” she said. “I'm going to change my batteries tonight! You take things for granted.”