Fire in Old Montreal: a first victim extricated from the rubble
The building located at 224, place D'Youville, in the Ville-Marie borough in Montreal, was ravaged by a major fire on Thursday.
Three days after the violent fire occurred in Old Montreal, a first victim was extricated from the totally destroyed heritage building, authorities announced on Sunday evening. Six people are still missing.
At this stage of the investigation, we managed to extricate a first victim at 6:45 p.m., said during a press briefing held at 9 p.m. Steve Belzil, commander of the Arson Section of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM).
The gender or age of the victim cannot be disclosed at this stage of the investigation, nor can the portion of the building where the body was found.
A little earlier, the authorities had indicated that for reasons of security and protection of Montreal's heritage, the second and third floors of this protected building, dating of the 19th century, will be dismantled stone by stone.
Preparatory work began this afternoon, said Martin Guilbault, division chief of the Montreal Fire Department (SIM).
On the left, Martin Guilbault, division chief of the Montreal Fire Department. On the right, Steve Belzil, Commander of the Arson Section of the Montreal Police Department.
A tent has been set up for the various investigators, as well as a nacelle, he said.
Another press briefing by the authorities is scheduled for Monday morning at 8 a.m.
The street will be closed all next week and a canvas will be deployed at 224 Place D'Youville so that the work of exhuming the victims still missing can be done discreetly.
There are now six, but there could be more in this building which housed several Airbnb-type accommodations. These were rented illegally, not having the necessary accreditations.
The causes of the fire in this building, comprising 14 apartments and a business, remain unknown for the moment.
Among the relatives of the victims, there are still many unanswered questions, including why some homes did not have windows.
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Charlie Lacroix, 18, called 911 twice asking for help because she was in an Airbnb type accommodation, without windows. That's what investigators told Charlie Lacroix's family @RadioCanadaInfo #polmtl pic.twitter.com/HOlCKbKH82
— Marie Isabelle Rochon (@MarieIsabelleRo) March 18, 2023
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In at least one dwelling, the smoke alarm did not go off.
On Sunday evening, the authorities would not give more details, contenting themselves with indicating that they had taken the statements of the inhabitants who had survived to the fire.
The owner of the building, businessman and lawyer Émile Benamor, is collaborating with the authorities.