MONTREAL - The Motel Raphael, a well-known beacon of seedy behaviour for years, was heavily damaged by a three-alarm fire Wednesday afternoon.

About 80 firefighters were called to the scene at the base of Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Boulevard, just east of the Ville St-Pierre interchange, at around 5:15 p.m.

Huge plumes of smoke were billowing from the dilapidated building – which was last known as the Knight's Inn and had been abandoned for years.

Since it closed down, the windows had been boarded up and the walls were covered in graffiti.

The fire ultimately consumed about one third of the building, with firefighters needing a few hours to bring the blaze under control. The rundown state of the building made fighting the fire trickier, because firefighters had less confidence in the structure holding up under the intense heat.

Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Blvd. was closed at the intersection with St-Jacques at the height of rush hour, denying access to Highway 20 and access to NDG off the Angrignon exit of the highway to motorists.