Montreal kitchen fire prompts evacuation of 10-storey residential building

Montreal fire truck in Montreal, Que., Wednesday, December 9, 2020. Mario Beauregard/The Canadian Press

A 10-storey apartment building in Montreal’s Verdun borough was evacuated Tuesday afternoon after a fire broke out on the 10th floor.

Matthew Griffith, section chief for the Montreal fire department said a  911 call came in at around 3:45 p.m., reporting a fire in a building located near the intersection of Woodland Street and Lasalle Boulevard.

Griffith said the blaze was caused by a kitchen fire in one of the building’s roughly 150 units.

Griffith added that it serves as a good reminder to never leave the stovetop unattended when cooking and to have a lid nearby in the event a fire does break out.

The lid covering the pot will starve the fire of the oxygen it needs to burn.

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A third of residential fires in Montreal start in the kitchen and is the main cause of accidental fires on the island, according to the fire department.

Roughly 75 firefighters tackled the two-alarm blaze.

Griffith said initially only the top two floors of the building were evacuated, as firefighters focused on extinguishing the fire. Once it was under control, the remaining floors were evacuated.

It’s a tactic he referred to as “sheltering in place.”

“The idea is to avoid a situation like in the Bronx,” Griffith said, referring to a deadly fire in a high-rise last January. In that case, open fire doors were found to have allowed thick smoke to rise through the tower highrise, leading to the deaths of 17 people.

Griffith said three people in the Verdun apartment building were evaluated by Urgence-Santé paramedics and taken to hospital to be treated for minor smoke inhalation.

While most residents were being allowed back into the building Tuesday evening, Griffith said the 10th floor remains off limits.

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An investigation into the exact cause and circumstance of the fire will begin on Wednesday.

Click to play video: '1 dead, 7 in hospital after five-alarm fire sweeps through Montreal apartment building housing low-income seniors'
1 dead, 7 in hospital after five-alarm fire sweeps through Montreal apartment building housing low-income seniors

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