Fire Fighting in Canada

Headlines News
Massive fire ravages commercial centre

Oct. 7, 2013, St-Donat, Que. – A fire has razed part of a quaint Quebec community's main street, with flames engulfing an entire block that included a strip mall with shops and homes.

October 7, 2013
By The Canadian Press

Oct. 7, 2013, St-Donat, Que. – A fire has razed part of a quaint Quebec community's main street, with flames engulfing an entire block that included a strip mall with shops and homes.

The blaze destroyed several businesses Sunday in St-Donat, a small town in the Laurentian mountains about 140 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

It burnt down an abandoned grocery store, shops, eateries and more than a half-dozen apartment units located above the businesses.

No fatalities were reported in the blaze, which was quelled Monday as fire crews picked through the debris and doused a few smouldering hot spots.

Advertisment

Town residents gathered near the site and took pictures of the blaze, the latest of several major fires to hit the town over the last three decades.

Police were investigating the cause Monday.

The fire started the previous afternoon and its intensity forced people to flee from nearby buildings. Firefighters from the town had to call in reinforcements from five other municipalities to help control the flames.

Benoit Richard, a police spokesman, says the fire may have started behind an old commercial building, but investigators were only beginning to sift through the site. Other businesses that were open when the fire began were destroyed.

The building in question contained an old grocery store that had not been used for about a decade. But Mayor Richard Benard said the property was purchased by the municipality a few years ago and there were plans to give it a new function.

Plans to develop the spot will not be abandoned, he said.

"We will make sure there's a project at that spot, regardless," Benard told reporters.

While it wants to help rebuild the area, the town said it's too early to discuss a time frame. The first step will be to secure and clean the site once police are done.

Benard said authorities have yet to determine what caused the blaze.

St-Donat's downtown area has been hit by fire several times, the latest incident occurring in January 2000.