Youth injured in fall at abandoned Saint-Henri industrial site

Benoit Martel, chief of operations for the Montreal Fire Department, said the 15-year-old fell through a hole on the building’s seventh floor and landed on some wood, which prevented him from falling further.

15-year-old falls 5 metres through shaft at old Canada Malting Company site

A fire department rescue team brought the injured teen out of the abandoned Canada Malting Company building through an eighth-storey window. (Jean-Claude Taliana /CBC)

A 15-year-old youth is in hospital after falling about five metres through a shaft while exploring an abandoned industrial building in Montreal's Saint-Henri neighbourhood with two friends.

Benoit Martel, chief of operations for the Montreal fire department, said the boy fell through a hole on the building's seventh floor and landed on some wood, which prevented him from falling further.

"If he didn't land on those pieces of wood, he would have fallen a further [six metres]," Martel said.

Martel said he suffered injuries to his collarbone, arm and leg and was conscious when a fire department rescue team got to him.

The injuries are not life threatening.

The two other boys who were with him in the building were not injured.

The abandoned building dates from the early 1900s and was owned by the Canada Malting Company.

"There are holes everywhere, and it's quite dangerous to walk around inside," Martel said.

The site is private property and trespassing is illegal.

The three boys could be charged with trespassing.

'A lot of structural weaknesses'

Craig Sauvé, who represents Saint-Henri on Montreal's city council, said borough inspectors do monitor the building to ensure it's barricaded, but "we can't control people."

"When we do see holes, we do send letters and request the owner to barricade it," he said.

He said the building may look tempting to explore, but it is not safe. 

"This building has a lot of structural weaknesses in it," he said. 

"I'd highly discourage anybody from going in that building … Floors could give way and something worse could happen."