A building more than a century was destroyed by fire today in downtown Montreal, during a fire that has monopolized more than 120 firefighters. The building where the fire broke out was known to house squatters.
More than 100 men, 16 fire engines and 12 ladder trucks were deployed.
The 911 call was made at 9 am 13 this morning. The fire started at 3464 avenue du Parc. It spread to the neighboring building, the 3462, which features a restaurant.
According to the Land Registry, the building was sold last week to a numbered company, after several warnings from the City of Montreal for non-payment of municipal taxes. The Press was unable to join the new owners.
Around 11 h 30, the SIM has announced that possibly squatters were in the building when the fire broke: input traces break were detected by police in the previous days and the place was known to host such visitors. It is not known if they have managed to escape the building. Three families were also evacuated from the neighborhood because of the smoke.
The building where the fire occurred is considered “dangerous” by firefighters and he appeared in the register of vacant buildings in the City of Montreal. According to a site that lists the old buildings, it was built in 1875 and bore the inscription RS Muir co. on its facade.
This is the second historic building burned in two weeks. Is it “an epidemic?” Asked Dinu Bumbaru of Heritage Montreal, praising the “beautiful storefront imported terra cotta we should save.”
Part of the north wall of the building collapsed as firefighters struggled against the fire. Martin Farmer, chief of operations, said that a continuous evaluation of building condition was carried out from a ladder: the entrance in the building is considered too dangerous.
On site, a dense gray smoke engulfed part of downtown, the wind pushing the south. Dozens of firefighters stand ready to intervene at ground level.
The Police Department of the City of Montreal (SPVM) is responsible for maintaining the traffic in the area. The Park Avenue is closed between Sherbrooke and Milton.