Demolition accelerated after wall collapses on Westmount building site
Watch: Wall collapses in Westmount
MONTREAL – The demolition a building in Westmount was dangerously accelerated on Wednesday afternoon after one of its walls unexpectedly collapsed.
According to Jean Leblanc, the operations chief with the Montreal fire department, firefighters received a call at 3:15 p.m. to say that a corner of the concrete structure had collapsed at the former Vanguard Intercultural High School at 175 Metcalfe Avenue.
“Nobody was injured,” he said. “There was a steel beam that broke, so people were afraid that the rest of the structure could go down.”
The site was evacuated and emergency crews set up a security perimeter around the area. Authorities later expanded the area to include nearby buildings, ordering the evacuation of residents, including about 100 from a seniors’ home.
Duncan Campbell, the Director-General of Westmount, said that the evacuations were necessary “to ensure the structure was safe and there was no risk of further cascading onto the road.”
“It looked unsafe.”
Local residents told Global News that there were many concerns about the security of the demolition site.
“I’m not surprised that there’s something wrong there,” said Janet Macdonald. “There were two or three children on the second and third floors.”
She said that she and her neighbour had alerted security in the past because they spotted children playing in the half-demolished building, but according to Macdonald, no one came to investigate.
Residents were allowed to return home on Wednesday evening after city engineers and technicians from Quebec’s workplace safety board (CSST) inspected the site and declared it safe.
The former high school is being demolished to make way for a condominium development.
© Shaw Media, 2014