Two Laval families had the scare of a lifetime after their homes were destroyed by a raging fire Tuesday night.
It is believed the blaze started when lightning struck an electrical pole, leading the victims wondering if the pole is too close to their homes.
Those affected by the fire spent Wednesday picking through the charred wreckage of their homes on Sydney Street in the Fabreville area of Laval.
Neighbours couldn’t believe their eyes as they watched the fire burn Tuesday.
“It was very big. It was like a mountain. It was very big,” said Flora Wabantu, who lives a few doors down.
Firefighters were called at about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday and arrived to see the two houses engulfed in flames.
“It took 50 firemen to extinguish the fire,” said Laval Fire Department Operations Chief Jean-François Lortie. “It took us about two hours to get control of the fire. There’s over eight houses that were touched by the fire.”
One of the homes was empty at the time. A 37-year-old man along with his wife and two young children had just gone out for dinner before being called by a neighbour and being told to return because their house was on fire.
Members of the family next door were home when the blaze broke out, but everyone got out safely.
Many of the street’s residents were concerned the flames could spread to their homes.
“Yeah, I was very, very, very worried,” said Wabantu.
“I asked my wife to bring out the kids and everybody,” said Parminder Daank, another neighbor.
Severe thunderstorms hit the Montreal area Tuesday night.
“There was a lot of lightning, and with that some good downpours as well,” said Simon Legault, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.
Firefighters believe the hydro pole between the two houses was struck by lightning. When they arrived, its base was on fire and the flames had already spread to the two adjacent homes. Heavy winds accompanied the storm.
“Normally lightning is targeting the higher structures in the area,” said Legault.
The homeowners did not want to speak on camera, but all expressed concern to Global News about how close the hydro pole is to the houses.
Hydro-Québec spokesperson Cendrix Bouchard told Global News the utility feels for the families, but that the distance between the pole and the buildings adheres to provincewide standards.
The fire department didn’t see it as a problem either.
“It’s pretty much OK with us,” said Lortie, adding how rare it is for a hydro pole to catch fire.
The families anxiously await news from their insurance providers, and take comfort in the fact that luckily nobody was hurt.