The Plateau-Mont-Royal borough says a building at the corner of St-Laurent Boulevard and St-Viateur Street is completely safe.
However, the woman who stood on the sidewalk below the building last week as a large window pane fell from the building toward her last week isn't so sure.
"I literally see the window falling down," Ashleigh Delaye told CBC Montreal's Daybreak. "And in this moment, I realize this was obviously a very dangerous situation. I kind of remember just telling my boyfriend to get back — I pushed him in (to a doorway) — and I just ran."
Delaye was unscathed, and said she didn't want to think about what almost happened to her.
Instead, she's wondering why the window fell out, and also when someone will force the building's owners to repair it. The building has been without its brick covering for more than a year.
"Montrealers need to get angry about this kind of thing," Delaye said. "It’s certainly ugly but it's more the issue that it’s becoming dangerous."
Building wall removed in 2013
The building has had an unusual 16 months, even before the window fell. The CBC has learned the fire department saw a bulge in the building's brick wall in February 2013, and borough officials subsequently ordered the entire wall removed.
Since then the owners at a company called SSDL Properties haven't replaced the brick. The building has been covered in white polyethylene fabric for several months. The CBC called the company several times but did not get any calls back.
The borough did send the owners a notice telling them to re-brick the building two months ago, but that was for aesthetic reasons, according to borough officials. It's not clear if that notice included any sort of deadline.
"I don’t know if there is any sort of timetable for that," said borough spokesperson Michel Tanguay.
"Anyway the next step will be a ticket to the owner of the building," added Tanguay, who said he wasn't sure when that might happen. That step would, he said, include a fine of about $1,000.
Tanguay said the borough also inspected the building to make sure it was safe after the window fell out and concluded it was fine.
But Ian Towers, a home inspector with Inspectrum Residential Inspections, wasn't quite as sure. Towers visited the building and looked at its exterior for CBC, and said the window frame from which the pane of glass fell was clearly sagging. He said the lack of brick under the window frame could have contributed to that sagging.
"The framing around the window won’t be prone to sagging if there’s a concrete lintel around it,” he said. “With nothing there, then for sure that could cause some sagging,”
Towers said bricks probably would have helped in this case.
Meanwhile, tenants in the building are now worried about it, after 16 months of complaining to the owners about the lack of bricks.
“I mentioned it — most of the time — when I’m sending the cheques,” said Dinanauth Damar, who owns a restaurant on the ground floor and lives upstairs.
“I keep asking them, 'When you going to fix?' I even threatened them; one time [I said] I’m not going to pay until you fix. They say, 'You’re not allowed to do that.' I say, 'OK.'” Damar said.
And Ashleigh Delaye, who got out of the way of the big pane of glass? She says the situation seems ridiculous and that someone — the owner or the borough — should have done something by now.
“A lot of people in the Mile End are saying, ‘I wonder what’s going on with this building.’ So maybe now they’ll do something about it,” she said.