An overnight fire at an apartment complex in Montreal North could have been much worse, according to the Montreal fire department.

Firefighters say residents were lucky to escape, considering there wasn’t a single working smoke detector in the eight-unit building on Pie-IX Boulevard.

“The necessity of a smoke detector, at a cost of $10 — it could save a life," said Jean Langlois, chief of operations at the Montreal fire department.

“We are lucky there wasn’t a death tonight.”

The fire started on the building's ground level between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.

Fire apartment montreal north

An overnight fire on Pie-IX Boulevard in Montreal North left residents out in the cold on Friday morning. (Radio-Canada)

Resident Laurie-Anne Trépannier said she woke up after smelling smoke.

“I called the fire department … I was screaming, crying,” she said.

Trépannier ran from unit to unit, knocking on doors to wake up the residents and help them escape.

This morning, Trépannier said she was still waiting to find out the extent of the damage.

“I have to wait to see if my apartment is OK, or if it’s a total loss. I don’t know ... I don’t have any insurance, so it’s rough.”

A man — the tenant in the unit where the fire started — was sent to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.