2-alarm fire in Montreal heritage building sends 3 people to hospital

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WATCH: Three people were sent to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation after fire broke out in a heritage building in Montreal's Plateau borough. Global's Phil Carpenter reports – Mar 1, 2018

Three people were sent to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation after fire broke out in a heritage building on the corner of Saint-Denis and Rachel Street in Montreal early Thursday morning.

READ MORE: Parked car set on fire in Montreal’s Plateau borough

Montreal firefighters received the call shortly after 5:15 a.m.

“Upon our arrival, we saw smoke coming from the first floor and then a fire on the ceiling of the same floor,” David Shelton, Montreal firefighters spokesperson, said.

“Three people were evacuated from the second floor. They were transported to hospital for smoke inhalation.”

The first floor of the building serves as commercial space, while the second floor consists of residential units.

Sixty firefighters were needed to fight the blaze.

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Firefighters were unable to provide an estimate of damage to the building or the cause of the blaze.

READ MORE: 20 homeless after fire tears through Plateau apartment building

Built in 1931, the building first housed the City and District Savings Bank.  The old Mexx clothing store later occupied the first floor, but it is now vacant.

Dinu Bumbaru of Heritage Montreal says it’s a good thing the fire wasn’t worse. “Heritage buildings, often become more vulnerable because they are vacant, you know,” he says.

The cause of this fire is still unknown but he says it’s important to take extra steps to protect these buildings.

“The city of Montreal last year adopted an action plan on heritage that includes addressing the vulnerability of heritage buildings.”

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But more needs to be done to avoid the fate of buildings like the Édifice Robillard which burned down in Chinatown two years ago.  Bumbaru thinks too many of these old buildings sit empty.  He wants them to be used.

“The best thing is that there is an economy that supports them!”

Firefighters estimate the damage to the building is around $400,000.  The structure remains intact.




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