March 17, 2019 1:20 pm
Updated: March 17, 2019 2:20 pm

Montreal firefighters battle 3-alarm fire at abandoned church

The arson squad is investigating after a blaze on in an abandoned church on Fullum Street. Saturday, March 16, 2019.

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The arson squad is investigating after a three-alarm fire in an abandoned church in Montreal’s Ville-Marie borough.

Firefighters were called to the blaze on Fullum Street at around 9: 30 p.m. on Saturday.

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Christian Legault, chief of operations with the Montreal fire department said when firefighters arrived smoke could be seen coming out of the steeples.

Roughly an hour later, a third alarm was called, meaning around 80 firefighters were needed at the scene to bring the fire under control.

Legualt said the church had a dangerous building designation for firefighters, which made battling the blaze more complicated.

“There was a lot of smoke,” he said, adding it took about three hours to bring under control.

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There were no reports of injury but two people living in the nearby presbytery were evacuated because of the smoke.

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The file was transferred to the arson squad because firefighters believe the fire may have been started by squatters, who sometimes find shelter in the building.

“Maybe they started a fire to keep warm,” Chèvrefils said.

Legault added there was no electricity in the building.

While the cause of the blaze is under investigation, Chèvrefils said no incendiary devices were found on site.

Legault said it was difficult to estimate monetary damage as the building was in a state of disrepair.

He did mention, however, that a Casavant organ, said by the caretaker to be worth $1 million, was spared, although it may have some water damage.

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