The lights are back in Montreal, days after a downfall of freezing rain left thousands in the dark.

According to Hydro Quebec, power has been restored to all of the Crown Corporation's clients on the island.

In the rest of Quebec, electricity is expected to be restored to most homes and businesses by Thursday evening at the latest after the freezing rain knocked out power to as many as 313,000 clients.

Hydro-Quebec has had more than 550 crews working since the freezing rain that began on Monday brought down power lines throughout Laval, the Laurentians, and other nearby areas.

At its peak there were more than 600 separate failures.

As of 6:30 a.m. Thursday, only 13,000 buildings were still affected, including 2,500 in Laval, 5,700 in the Laurentians, and 4,600 in the Lanaudiere. 

"Given the very high number of outages and incidents of damage to the power system, service restoration times have been removed from the Power Outages app. Should the weather improve in the coming hours, Hydro-Quebec expects to restore power to the vast majority of its customers during the day. As a result, the most severely affected areas might only see their service restored Thursday," the utility wrote on its website.

Many schools were closed Wednesday because of the power failures.

Laval issues safety warning

Laval firefighters and police officers reminded the public on Wednesday that people need to be prudent during weather events.

Firefighters said that since Monday they have rescued several people who had fallen ill due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Sylvain Gariepy said Wednesday that people had brought barbecues and charcoal inside to start fires, and that was not smart.

"Please don't do this. It's dangerous," said Gariepy.

He said that on Monday and Tuesday four adults and five children were taken to hospital in three separate incidents. In two of them people were using barbecues indoors, while in the third a man had a generator very close to his house and was overcome by the exhaust.

People also accidentally set 17 fires in Laval, often by knocking over candles.

Laval police officer Evelyne Boudreau said many people were calling 9-1-1 to ask for help with health issues and with flooding.

"Firefighters were going door-to-door to say that carbon monoxide detectors have to be checked. Fire detectors also," said Boudreau, adding that people who were known to have health issues were also being checked on.


Shelters a big help

Laval Mayor Marc Demers urged families and neighbours to look out for one another. "If you have members of your family -- parents, brothers, sisters -- who are in a zone that's lacking electricity, check in on their situation to make sure we're not forgetting someone in distress," Demers said.

The city of Laval opened two emergency shelters for residents to stay overnight, or just to drop in during the day in order to warm up, take showers, and charge phones and other devices. Those warming shelters are at 6500 Arthur Sauvé and 455 Lausanne St.

Chandra Stobbs was one of the people who took advantage of the shelter.

"I have a three-month old and a 13-year-old and my friend's child has severe asthma. We couldn't call the police in the event of an emergency so we had to get somewhere safe," said Stobbs.

Police said that everyone who showed up was cared for.

"The city got the Red Cross involved so the cots, the blankets, the food, we did bring everything in yesterday," said Boudreau.

Boudreau said more than 100 people spent the night in the two shelters, and that while it was not the most comfortable night's sleep, it was warm and safe.