• Carmen Marie Fabio

Fire devastates Main Road apartment complex


PHOTO BY CLAUDE ROBILLARD

Firefighters said the stubborn blaze moved very quickly and though the building appears to be completely destroyed, all residents were evacuated safely.

Though some reports of the cause of the blaze that destroyed the Hudson apartment complex that stood at 552 Main Road point to a kitchen mishap, Hudson Fire Department and Public Security Director Philippe Baron would not confirm this, saying the investigation has not yet been completed.

“The third floor is completely damaged, the second floor is half-damaged fire-wise,” said Baron on the scene the morning after the blaze, “and the rest is water-damaged. The insurance company will determine if the building is a complete write-off or not.”

The fire originated in a second-storey apartment at the 14-unit, three-storey building just before 7 p.m. Sunday, May 4. Over 50 firefighters responded to the blaze from with help from neighbouring municipalities including Pincourt, Rigaud, Ste. Marthe, St. Lazare, and Vaudreuil-Dorion.

Baron said that although the building was not equipped with sprinklers, smoke detectors and the alarm system were functioning and all the residents were able to leave the building safely. “That’s what we always hope for,” he said. “The objective on that side was attained.”

Baron said the second floor was fully engulfed in flames when the firefighters arrived. “The flames were coming out of the second-storey windows and already spreading to the roof.”

Contrary to some reports that said firefighters took upwards of 20 minutes to respond to the call, Baron pointed out that though some witnesses claimed they saw smoke around 6:30 p.m., the 911 call was logged at 6:50 p.m. and that the Hudson Fire Department was on the scene five minutes and 14 seconds later as recorded by the computerized logging system.

“This fire department that’s a smaller part-time department has emergency response times that compete with the Montreal Fire Department,” said Baron, a 26-year firefighter who is also a commanding officer in downtown Montreal.

Baron disputed another witness report that said firefighters encountered problems with the hoses and hydrants. “We have that timeline (recorded) and all the timelines were really outstanding. There was no issue with water.”

Baron said the erroneous claims are an unfair reflection on the department. “This is not how our organization works. We’re very professional and spend a lot of time making sure we’re on target with everything we do.” Baron said he was told by a witness that an extinguisher in the building was non-functional but contends, “It would not have made a difference (if it was working). It was impossible to get back into the apartment. By the time people went back in the building, the apartment was full of smoke, from floor to ceiling.” The blaze spread so rapidly through the structure that Baron said standard wall-mounted extinguishers would have had little effect on a fire of that intensity.

Baron said the final report on the fire is expected to be completed early the week of May 12.

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