A 22-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman are dead after a fire in a three-storey building near St-Jacques Street and Old Orchard Avenue.

The fire began at around 4 a.m. Friday, in a three-storey residential building near the corner of St-Jacques Street and Old Orchard Avenue.

Firefighters helped about 20 people flee apartments in the building as well as 20 from adjacent buildings.

"During the evacuation, they found two people unconscious, burnt and in cardiac arrest," said fire operations chief Michel Girard.

The man was declared dead a short time later, while the woman was transported to hospital in critical condition — she died hours later.

Two others, described by emergency response officials as adults in their early 20s, are being treated for minor burns.

Fire aftermath causes traffic snarls

The investigation has been turned over to the Montreal police, as the cause is not known.

Police say they do not believe the fire was suspicious.

Dozens of firefighters remained on the scene throughout the morning to clean up after the fire was extinguished. 

The fire and its aftermath caused traffic snarls in Montreal's west end this morning. Girouard Avenue was closed between Upper Lachine Road and St-Jacques Street, and St-Jacques was closed east of Wilson Avenue.

Grow-op discovered

Meantime, investigators discovered a marijuana plantation in the basement of a triplex in the adjacent building.

Police say the grow-up was not the cause of the fire.

No arrests have been made in the drug case.