Part of an apartment building on Cartier Street in the eastern section of downtown Montreal is threatening to collapse.

Carriageway Cartier Street collapsed building

Residents woke early Thursday morning to a loud sound. They noticed some cracks on their interior walls and called 911 immediately. (Radio-Canada)

Residents inside the building called 911 after hearing a loud noise and noticing small cracks in their interior walls early Thursday morning. 

Firefighters have been on the scene since 5:30 a.m. ET, tending to a partially collapsed carriageway. Bricks and pieces of the exterior wall were seen on the ground.

Jonathan Periard said he woke up to what sounded like an earthquake. He doesn't share one of the damaged walls, but he said he went to his neighbour's apartment and saw a crack on one of his interior walls. 

Firefighters told CBC News it looks as though some construction work was being done on the carriageway, which leads to a rear courtyard. They also said the interior wall seems to have shifted down by a few centimetres.

The residents of eight surrounding apartments were told to evacuate the building.

They will not be allowed to return home until an engineer gives the OK to re-enter. 

Firefighters said it's unlikely the whole structure will collapse because it is supported on the other side, but they are taking every precaution necessary.

Cartier Street between Sherbrooke and Ontario streets is closed.