MONTREAL—A powerful fire tore through the Villa Ste-Rose retirement home in northern Laval on Friday night, forcing the evacuation of 79 seniors into the cold night.

The fire broke out just after 6 p.m. and was whipped up by strong winds. Two hours after the first firefighters arrived on the scene, the blaze had yet to be brought under control and the building on Marc-Aurele-Fortin Blvd. appeared to be a complete loss.

A bus from Laval’s transit service was pressed into service as an emergency shelter for residents, before many were relocated to a nearby community centre.

No injuries have been reported by the Laval fire department. The cause of the fire is not known.