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Fire at Montreal airport sends five to hospital

MONTREAL – A fire on the tarmac at Montreal’s Trudeau airport sent five people to hospital with minor injuries Monday.

The blaze erupted on a baggage belt unloading a Royal Air Maroc flight arriving from Casablanca just before 5 p.m.

Fire at Trudeau Airport in Montreal sends five to hospital.
Fire burns on a baggage belt on the tarmac next to a Royal Air Maroc plane in Montreal on Monday November 4, 2013. Olivier Lebrun/The Canadian Press
Fire burns on a baggage belt on the tarmac next to a Royal Air Maroc plane in Montreal on Monday November 4, 2013.
Fire burns on a baggage belt on the tarmac next to a Royal Air Maroc plane in Montreal on Monday November 4, 2013.
Fire burns on a baggage belt on the tarmac next to a Royal Air Maroc plane in Montreal on Monday November 4, 2013.
Fire burns on a baggage belt on the tarmac next to a Royal Air Maroc plane in Montreal on Monday November 4, 2013.
Fire burns on a baggage belt on the tarmac next to a Royal Air Maroc plane in Montreal on Monday November 4, 2013.
Fire burns on a baggage belt on the tarmac next to a Royal Air Maroc plane in Montreal on Monday November 4, 2013.
Fire burns on a baggage belt on the tarmac next to a Royal Air Maroc plane in Montreal on Monday November 4, 2013.
Fire burns on a baggage belt on the tarmac next to a Royal Air Maroc plane in Montreal on Monday November 4, 2013.
Fire burns on a baggage belt on the tarmac next to a Royal Air Maroc plane in Montreal on Monday November 4, 2013.
Fire burns on a baggage belt on the tarmac next to a Royal Air Maroc plane in Montreal on Monday November 4, 2013.

With a thick cloud of smoke enveloping the plane, airline personnel chose to evacuate the Boeing 767.

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Some of the 250 passengers had to slide out on emergency escape gear.

Seven were treated for smoke inhalation on the spot, with five of them agreeing to go to hospital for treatment. A few also suffered lower-body injuries during the bumpy escape.

“The crew decided to evacuate that way,” said airport spokesman Francois-Nicolas Asselin.

“It was their decision. Could they have done it differently? It’ll be up to Royal Air Maroc to explain that decision.”

The federal Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the incident, and also seek to determine whether evacuation procedures were handled properly.