Cleanup begins after fire ravages Westmount building
Firefighters say carbon accumulated in Lavanderia wood stove's chimney caught fire
The cleanup has started after a fire Sunday evening ravaged a Westmount building that houses a number of businesses, including a couple of high-end restaurants.
The building is home to the popular Lavanderia and Park, both owned by celebrity chef Antonio Park, as well as a gym and Japanese grocery store Miyamoto Épicerie Japonaise.
When reached by CBC Sunday night, an emotional Park spoke about his two "babies," saying he built them with his own two hands.
Martine Bergeron is the general manager at Lavanderia and was there when the fire broke out.
They went to get the fire extinguisher but realized quickly they needed to evacuate the restaurant.
"It felt like it was going to just blow up, so we ran, told the customers to leave, and we ran outside and saw the fire," she said.
There were six customers inside at the time.
$100,000 damage, at least
John Primiani, chief of operations for the Montreal fire department, said the fire started in the kitchen at Lavanderia.
"The time-consuming problem was bringing the water up and opening the roof and making sure every part of the roof is extinguished, and trying to limit the damage from the water on the lower floors," he said.
Damage is estimated at $100,000, though that figure is nearly certain to rise, he said.
"It's a fantastic restaurant. Lavanderia is one of my favourites in the neighborhood [and] in town," she said.
Norelle Cooper also lives in the area and could smell the smoke from her home Sunday evening.
"We had good restaurants here, but those two were the most popular, I would think. Certainly when I've gone to Park, I've taken friends from out of town, and they enjoy it immensely," she said, adding she hopes it will reopen soon.
Bergeron said the restaurant teams were to meet Monday to determine what the next steps will be. While Park may reopen within a week, the timetable may be longer for Lavanderia.
"He's going to do everything he can, I know that," she said.
with files from CBC's Kate McKenna and Daybreak