A five-alarm fire ravaged two residential buildings in the Villeray neighbourhood on Friday night, forcing 13 apartments to be evacuated.

The fire on 8630 Casgrain Avenue, between de Liège Street and Crémazie Boulevard, started on a rear balcony on the ground floor and quickly spread to the roof, Montreal's fire department said.

It then spread to the roof of the neighbouring building and took over the top floor.

"Somebody left something on the stove and that's what caused the incident," said Bruno Rusceo, an operations chief with the fire department. 

"They tried to extinguish the fire, and then it spread in the back of the building by the sheds."

fire villeray

The fire started behind one building and quickly spread to the roof of the neighbouring one. (Google Street View)

About 130 firefighters and 30 vehicles were dispatched to battle to flames. A total of 17 people lost their homes.

At one point, the heat was so intense that firefighters feared the building would collapse, prompting them to withdraw temporarily. 

The blaze completely gutted one of the buildings and badly damaged the other. Rusceo estimated the damage at $600,000.

No one was injured.