140 years of history in ashes

140 years of history in ashes

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A historic building on rue Saint-Jacques, in the borough of Saint-Henri, was reduced to ashes overnight from Saturday to Sunday, after surviving another blaze 12&nbsp ago ;years old.

“It's really sad for us, because it was a beautiful building from the 1800s, but it burned down twice”, laments the owner Peter Sergakis, interviewed by Le Journal.

In total, 27 families found themselves on the street. Eight of them were collected by the Red Cross for emergency aid. 

Fortunately, no one was injured in the fire which mobilized more than one 100 firefighters.  

“Some of the tenants weren't there that night, so it's still possible that people will show up for help,” says Carole Du Sault, spokesperson for the Red Cross.

Earlier Sunday, the building built in 1882 was declared a total loss. 

The Montreal Police Department has resumed the investigation to determine the cause of the blaze.< /p>

A trying night  

After the tragedy, onlookers gathered near the security banners to watch the end of the fire.

“It is really terrible. There is a gentleman who spent part of the night sitting on a bench watching his home burn,” said a neighbor who preferred to remain anonymous.  

Around 10  h, his apartment still reeked of smoke and the electricity was cut.

The owner of the building, Mr. Sergakis, cannot help but think about the fate of some tenants.

“One of the tenants lives with her son and is not in good health. She has to stay in bed 24 hours a day. I don't know how her son got her out of the apartment, but now I'm worried about whether her health has deteriorated.” , he admits, his voice broken by emotion.

Heritage under threat  

For Maurice Valade, born in Saint-Henri in 1995, the building on rue Saint-Jacques was a reference in the district. 

« It is part of the history of Saint-Henri that flies away. An inestimable loss,” he laments.

According to Mr. Sergakis, the building formerly belonged to the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Moreover, he had made it his mission to restore it to its former glory. 

Already burnt down

In 2010 , a violent fire however ravaged part of the historic building, which has since been replaced by more modern condos.

It remains to be seen whether the same fate will be reserved for the second part of the building which has been destroyed this weekend.  

« A building that was built by craftsmen 100 years ago, chances are it's more interesting than a building rebuilt with cement blocks cut with a circular saw and aluminum windows,” says Dinu Bumbaru, from the Héritage Montréal organization.

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