At least 7 people missing after massive fire breaks out at Old Montreal heritage building IG News

Irshadgul News report,

At least seven people are considered missing and may be in the rubble after a massive fire ripped through a historic building in Old Montreal on Thursday morning, emergency officials said Saturday.

Speaking at a brief news conference late Saturday, Montreal Fire Operations Chief Martin Guilbeault said investigators would begin dismantling parts of the building on Sunday to continue their search and determine the cause of the fire.

Investigators initially said one person was feared missing after the fire. But earlier on Saturday at a news conference, Guilbeault said recently confirmed information from multiple sources had led him to conclude that more people were trapped inside when the fire broke out just before 6 a.m. Thursday.

One of those killed is 18-year-old Charlie Lacroix, according to his grandfather, who spoke to reporters from the scene on Saturday.

“She was a happy little girl – beautiful and happy,” Robert Lacus said through tears.

He said that to this day, all he knows about what happened to his granddaughter is what a police source told him.

,[Police] The first call came from my little girl who said ‘come and get us because where we are there are no windows, we can’t get out and the fire is burning'” Lakas said.

He said that three minutes later, police received another call from Lacroix saying the same thing. “And then the phone rang,” he said through tears.

A serious looking man stands outside holding a cup of coffee in front of a scene of a fire.
Robert Lacroix, grandfather of Charlie Lacroix. (Rowan Kennedy/CBC)

Lacas is now demanding an investigation into the safety of the building. “It is not normal that a person has an apartment where there is no other access than the door,” he said. “It’s illegal… you have to have two places you can escape.”

A Montreal police spokeswoman said police have not verified Lacas’ account and will not confirm the names of those who are missing out of respect for their families.

Police are urging anyone who is looking for a missing person who could have been inside the building to contact them at 514 280-2222 or go to a local police station.

Firefighters are still unable to enter the building

On Thursday, nine people received serious injuries and were admitted to the hospital. Both are undergoing treatment in the burn unit till Saturday.

Alina Kuzmina and her husband were sleeping in one of the Airbnb rental units inside the building when they awoke around 5:30 a.m. to the sound of an explosion.

“We started seeing orange flames coming from under the door and orange lights and the sound of a fire starting, so it was clear there was a fire right outside the door,” she said.

The couple, originally from Cornwall, Ontario, quickly gathered all they could and, being in a basement unit, escaped with only minor injuries, breaking a window and crawling through it. were capable of.

Emergency workers are caring for residents on the street, some of whom are using oxygen masks and wrapped in blankets.
Emergency workers cared for residents who had been evacuated to the street, some of whom were provided with oxygen masks and blankets. (Simon-Marc Caron/Radio-Canada)

Once on the street, Kuzmina remembers the chaos.

“I saw a man who fell from the second floor. I believe he threw himself out of the window [while] trying to escape the fire,” he said.

Kuzmina said the scariest part of the experience was that neither of the two fire alarms in her unit went off, forcing her and her husband to wake up to the flames themselves.

“It’s pretty nightmare stuff, so my frustration is how this building is managed,” she said.

Police said Saturday the case had been transferred to the Montreal police arson squad as of Friday night.

Arson Squad Commander Steve Belziel said he could not provide any information on the identities of the missing, for example, whether or not they were residents of the building, or people who had rented space on Airbnb.

Firefighters have not yet been able to safely enter the three-story, 15-unit building at the intersection of Place d’Youville and Saint-Nicolas Street as part of the investigation.

That’s why the administration is unable to find out the cause of the fire.

,[The case] has shifted [to the police’s arson department] Because we have reason to believe that there are victims, deaths,” Belzil explained.

Firefighters with a building engulfed in flames and smoke
Firefighters have not yet been able to safely enter the three-story, 15-unit building at the intersection of Place d’Youville and Saint-Nicolas Street as part of the investigation. (Simon-Marc Caron/Radio-Canada)

Later this week, experts will help the fire department prepare how they can enter the building to investigate the origin of the fire and look for anyone who is “consistent with preserving the heritage building”. Trying” is still missing.

Emergency officials say it could take days or even weeks to determine the cause of the fire.

In a tweet, Alain Vaillancourt, a member of Montreal’s executive committee responsible for public safety, said it was an “extremely difficult time” and expressed his condolences to the families of the missing.


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