MONTREAL - All three members of a Verdun family have died after a smoky fire broke out Wednesday in their home.

Joe Yazbeck, 31, and Gabriel, 3, were overcome by smoke and pronounced dead soon after they were discovered by firefighters.

Cynthia Beauvais, 28, was in critical condition until Thursday morning when she succumbed to smoke inhalation.

Neighbour Renaud Turcotte was overcome by emotion after learning about the fire.

"Joe's dead, Gabby's dead and oh my God. I came out and just broke down," said Turcotte.

The fire started shortly before 3 a.m. Wednesday in the kitchen of the ground-level suite in a row of triplexes on Rushbrooke St. near Caisse St.

It appears the family woke up and tried to escape but were overcome by smoke as they reached their front door.

Chief Denis Deschamps says firefighters had trouble getting inside because of where the family collapsed.

"They were stuck at the front door by something that was blocking the door so they had to push hard, to finally find a body behind the door that they took out," said Deschamps.

Once the fire was extinguished investigators went through the ground-level apartment of the triplex and discovered it had only one smoke detector, but that the battery had been removed.

As they are doing all summer, firefighters are going door-to-door to check if homeowners and tenants have working smoke detectors.

In the wake of Wednesday's deadly fire, they will concentrate on this Verdun neighbourhood over the next few days.