150 firefighters came out to fight 5-alarm fire in Montreal East

The roof and a partially collapsed wall have been preventing firefighters from entering the industrial recycling company. Three workers were inside and got out safely.

Workers at recycling company got out safely, called 911 after discovering pile of debris on fire

Smoke from an industrial building clouds a blue sky.
A few of the 140 firefighters on-site had to be treated for heat exhaustion. (Mathieu Wagner/Radio-Canada)

Roughly 150 firefighters struggled to get the upper hand on a five-alarm fire in Montreal East during the peak of the blaze on Sunday.

Two of them had to be treated for minor injuries, one for heat exhaustion and another for an injury, said Mathew Griffith, a fire chief with the Montreal fire department.

The fire department received a call about the fire inside a recycling company building at 10930 Sherbrooke Street East around 10:30 a.m.

Three workers were inside at the time and got out safely.

The call came in after one spotted a fire in a pile of objects ready to be recycled, Griffith said.

"The fire did spread through different piles in the building, it's a large industrial type building," he said.

The company had gone out of business and was no longer in operation, and workers had been on site retrieving materials that could still be salvaged, he said.

Three firefighters walk between fire trucks parked in front of an industrial building.
Three workers were inside the building at the time of the fire, and got out safely. (Mathieu Wagner/CBC)

As of Sunday evening the roof and a partially collapsed wall had prevented firefighters from entering the building.

"It's a very stubborn fire because it's piles of debris, and because of the partial collapse we are in defensive mode not sending any personnel inside the building," Griffith said, adding it's hard to know how long the fire will take to put out. 

Over the afternoon plumes of smoke could be seen billowing from the plant from as far as Boucherville.

Authorities set up a large security perimeter in the area. Environmental officials with the federal and provincial government are also on site monitoring the air quality, Griffith said. 

"The heat did hamper our efforts a bit, but we have been rotating our crews on scene throughout today in order to have fresh crews and to make sure everyone is OK," he said.

with files from Shuyee Lee and Chloe Ranaldi