MONTREAL—Under a massive black plume, a large and violent fire burned for hours on Friday evening at an oil delivery company on Bossuet St. in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.

Fire fighters sounded the general alarm just after 4 p.m. as flames began jumping dozens of metres into the air from the Bouthillier et Rioux Inc. oil-delivery company at 1955 Bossuet St. With substantial oil reserves inside the one-storey industrial building, firefighters sprayed water and foam onto neighbouring walk-ups, fearful that the flames would spread.

“Due to the intensity it was remarkable that the fire didn’t spread,” said operational fire chief Andre Paquet, who credited the “direct attack” of the 150 firefighters who responded to the call.

According to Montreal’s fire department, oil delivery vehicles were inside the building when the flames started.

"There are reservoirs and delivery trucks inside," said fire department spokeswoman Elise Breault.

A number of small explosions were also reported.

Paquet couldn’t confirm how many buildings were evacuated due to the five-alarm conflagration, but hundreds of residents on neighbouring streets were told to leave. Neighbours who stayed were told to keep their windows shut, due to the possibly toxic cloud over the area.

Power was cut to at least two dozen city blocks at 4:17 p.m. and was slowly restored to most residents overnight. The utility confirmed that 2,200 lost their power at the height of the interruption.

Only one person was injured; a firefighter who slipped on a patch of ice.

An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire.