More than two dozen residents of an apartment complex in Hudson, Que., are homeless after a major fire destroyed the building Sunday evening.
Firefighters from several neighbouring fire departments including St-Lazare and Rigaud were called in to help fight the fire in the 14-unit building on Main Street in Hudson, which is located west of Montreal.
Fire officials said 25 people lived in the building. No residents were hurt in the fire, but at least one firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion.
Residents were taken in by friends and family Sunday night and the Red Cross is now trying to identify short-term accommodation for them.
Many sought shelter at Richard Daoust's house next to the apartment complex.
In an interview with CBC News, Daoust questioned how quickly firefighters responded to the fire, given the fact the fire station is right across the street.
"There's a weakness. There are many employees but to install the hose took 30 minutes," he said.
Daoust said it would have been quicker to use fire extinguishers instead.
Hudson Fire Chief Philippe Baron said he was satisfied with the speed of his department's response.
"It was done immediately," he said. "There was no issue with the water."
Officials said that because the firefighters work part-time — and are on-call — no one was at the station when the call came in.
Daniel Leblanc, the assistant chief of Hudson's fire department, said it's uncertain whether the structure can be saved.
"The top floor is completely done with fire damage, the middle floor and bottom floor is mostly heat and water damage. We're not sure of the extent, but it took a big hit for sure," he told CBC News.
Leblanc said it's believed the fire started in the kitchen of a unit on the second floor.
The town's pharmacy extended its hours so that victims could get their medication and some seniors' homes and inns in the area offered rooms.
Hudson Mayor Ed Prévost said he is calling on residents to donate clothing and other items the fire victims may need.