Community reaches out after devastating Cartierville fire

Dozens were left homeless after a fire ripped through an apartment in Montreal's Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough earlier this week. Now, members of the local community are helping them get back on their feet.

Local daycare, Red Cross working to help families displaced days before Christmas

Resident Christopher Nourice and his four-month-old cat, Max, were left homeless by the fire. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

Community members are offering support to the dozens of Montrealers left homeless after a fire ripped through an apartment in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough earlier this week.

The Canadian Red Cross helped 76 people — 69 adults and seven children — find temporary lodging following a five-alarm fire in a 96-unit apartment building Monday on Dudemain Street.

"We know it's a difficult time for them because some of them lost everything," said Carl Boisvert, spokesman for the Red Cross.

After three days, other aid organizations take over helping victims from the Red Cross.

Daycare collects donations

The fire is personal for the director of a publicly-funded daycare across the street from the apartment building.

Children of two affected families attend Liette Grégoire's CPE. She said the parents came to get their kids on the day of the fire, and haven't been back since.

She felt compelled to help them find necessities — and put a call out to other parents.

"We really want to help them during this time," Grégoire said.

"Parents really responded."

They've collected bags of clothing for the families and will collect cash donations when daycare resumes after the holidays.

'It destroyed the whole Christmas'

Resident Christopher Nourice was left homeless by the fire.

He was in the shower when he started to smell smoke. He said he looked out the window and spotted fire trucks and saw a neighbouring family being rescued.

Then a firefighter knocked at his door, telling Nourice that he needed to leave the building.

Nourice grabbed his cat, Max, and went out into the street.

"It destroyed the whole Christmas," said Nourice.

"I don't even know what's going to happen with my house or what's going to happen with everything left in the house now, too."