The City of St. Lambert has opened a dedicated office at 35 Fort St. that will remain open through Christmas Day, where donations can be made to the dozens of residents who lost their homes in a major fire in St. Lambert Monday. 

Five dozen firefighters fought the flames at 5515 Plamondon in St. Lambert Monday afternoon, a fire that left substantial damage to the building. Firefighters report that the structure remains intact but the now ice-covered interior sufered serious water, smoke and fire damage.

Nobody was hurt or injured and about 20 people were evacuated from the 45 residential units in the three-storey building.

The cause of the conflagration, which began at about 4:15 p.m. and took many hours to finally extinguish, remains unknown.

The building suffered considerable damage and many tenants lost all of the possessions left in their apartments after they fled the fire. 

The third floor was the most damaged, while the basement suffered serious water damage.

Residents interviewed by CTV Montreal's Stephane Giroux included several immigrants from such places as Afghanistan and North Africa who not only lost all of the contents of their homes, but have no extended family or many friends to help them out.

One woman reported that she was babysitting her five and seven-year-old grandchildren when the fire struck.

"Everybody was coming to our house for Christmas Eve," said Pat Sandler, who forced back tears as she noted that all of the children's items, including toys and gifts were among the possessions lost.

Red Cross officials were on the scene to bring displaced tenants to temporarily lodgings, while the landlord has also offered to try and rehouse some tenants in other buildings he owns.

"Currentlty the Red Cross is offering shelter in a local hotel, food and clothing to help them out for the next couple of days," said official Donny Straub, who added that the standard protocol is to wait 72-hours to come up with a longer term plan for those displaced.