Two overnight fires on St-Denis Street sent between 15 and 20 people out into the street in the early hours of the morning and destroyed a Villeray bar.

Villeray fire

Two Montreal firefighters respond to a fire in Villeray. (Radio-Canada)

Witnesses to the Villeray fire at St-Denis Street just north of Jarry Street. told police they saw a man tossing a Molotov cocktail into the front window of Club Jovi before fleeing on foot.

The bar was destroyed, and neighbouring apartments on either side sustained damage as firefighters fought to gain control of the fire.

The second fire was further south on St-Denis Street, north of Mont-Royal Avenue.

Firefighters were called to an abandoned building at 4527 St-Denis St. around 4 a.m. Tuesday.

The fire chief at the scene confirmed the building was empty at the time.

St. Denis Street was closed for several hours, but was open shortly after 7 a.m.

Building empty for decades

Michel Lamoureux, who has lived on the street behind 4527 St-Denis St. since 1976, said the building has been empty for decades.

"What surprises me is that, throughout the years, the city was aware that this building was empty and nothing was being done," he said. "You say to yourself, 'Why neglect for so long, you know?'"

He said he's not surprised that the building caught fire because he often sees people squatting in the building or its backyard all the time.

Villeray fire

Club Jovi was gutted by a fire witnesses say was started by a Molotov cocktail. Police said the building was a "total loss." (Jaela Bernstien/CBC)