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At least 7 people missing after major fire in Old Montreal heritage building

At least 7 people missing after major fire in Old Montreal heritage building

No less than seven individuals are thought-about lacking and will nonetheless be within the rubble following a serious hearth that raged via a historic constructing in Outdated Montreal on Thursday morning, emergency officers mentioned Saturday.

Talking at a short information convention late Saturday night time, Montreal hearth operations chief Martin Guilbault mentioned crews would start dismantling elements of the constructing on Sunday to ensure that investigators to proceed their search and decide a trigger for the hearth.

Investigators had initially mentioned one particular person was believed to be lacking after the hearth. However at an earlier information convention Saturday, Guilbault mentioned info not too long ago confirmed from numerous sources led them to conclude that extra folks had been trapped inside when the blaze broke out earlier than 6 a.m. Thursday.

A kind of folks is 18-year-old Charlie Lacroix, in keeping with her grandfather, who spoke to reporters from the scene on Saturday. 

“She was a glad little woman — stunning and glad,” Robert Lacas mentioned via tears. 

He mentioned all he is aware of so far about what occurred to his granddaughter is what he says a police supply advised him. 

“[Police] obtained a primary name from my little woman who mentioned ‘come and get us as a result of there aren’t any home windows the place we’re, we will’t get out and the hearth is burning,’” Lacas mentioned. 

He mentioned three minutes later, police obtained one other name from Lacroix saying the identical factor. “After which the telephone lower out,” he mentioned, breaking into tears. 

Robert Lacas, grandfather of Charlie Lacroix. (Rowan Kennedy/CBC )

Lacas is now calling for an investigation into the constructing’s security. “It’s not regular that a person has an residence the place there’s no different entry than the door,” he mentioned. “It’s unlawful … you must have two locations that you could escape.”

Police haven’t confirmed Lacas’s account and won’t be confirming the names of these which might be lacking out of respect for his or her households, a Montreal police spokesperson mentioned. 

Police are urging anybody in search of a lacking one that might have been contained in the constructing to contact them at 514 280-2222 or go to a neighborhood police station.

Firefighters nonetheless unable to enter constructing

9 folks, three of whom had critical accidents, had been transported to the hospital Thursday. As of Saturday, two are nonetheless receiving remedy within the burn unit.

Alina Kuzmina and her partner had been sleeping in one of many Airbnb rental items contained in the constructing after they had been awoken round 5:30 a.m. by what she describes because the sound of an explosion. 

“We began seeing the orange flames and the orange gentle from beneath the door and the sound of crackling hearth, so it was fairly clear that there was a hearth proper outdoors the door,” she mentioned. 

The pair, initially from Cornwall, Ont., shortly gathered what they might and, being in a basement unit, had been in a position to smash a window and crawl via it, escaping with solely minor accidents. 

Emergency crews tending to residents on the street, some of whom are using oxygen masks and are wrapped in blankets.
Emergency crews tended to residents who had been evacuated on the road, a few of whom had been supplied oxygen masks and blankets. (Simon-Marc Charron/Radio-Canada)

As soon as on the road, Kuzmina remembers chaos. 

“I noticed a man who had simply fallen from the second flooring. I imagine he simply threw himself out of the window [while] making an attempt to flee the hearth,” she mentioned. 

Kuzmina mentioned essentially the most alarming a part of the expertise is that neither of the 2 hearth alarms in her unit went off, forcing her and her husband to get up to the flames themselves. 

“That is very a lot nightmare materials, so my frustration is with how this constructing is managed,” she mentioned.

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

Steve Belzil, commander of the arson squad, mentioned he couldn’t present any details about the identities of the lacking folks, together with whether or not or not they had been residents of the constructing or individuals who had rented an area there on Airbnb, for instance.

Firefighters have but to have the ability to safely enter the three-storey, 15-unit constructing on the intersection of Place d’Youville and Saint-Nicolas Road with the intention to examine.

Authorities subsequently are usually not in a position to decide the reason for the hearth.

“[The case] has been transferred [to the police’s arson department] as a result of now we have cause to imagine that there are victims, deaths,” defined Belzil.

a building engulfed in flames and smoke with firefighters
Firefighters have but to have the ability to safely enter the three-storey, 15-unit constructing on the intersection of Place d’Youville and Saint-Nicolas Road with the intention to examine. (Simon-Marc Charron/Radio-Canada)

This weekend, specialists will assist the hearth division put together how they will enter the constructing to research the hearth’s origins and search for anybody who remains to be lacking “whereas making an attempt to protect the heritage constructing,” mentioned Guilbault.

Emergency officers say it might take a number of days and even weeks to find out the reason for the hearth. 

In a tweet, Alain Vaillancourt, Montreal’s govt committee member chargeable for public safety, mentioned these are “extraordinarily making an attempt occasions” and his coronary heart goes out to the households of these which might be lacking.