2nd victim recovered at site of Old Montreal fire

Montreal police confirm a second body was recovered at the site of the fire in Old Montreal Tuesday evening. 

Remains sent to laboratory for identification

firefighters carrying black tarp
Rescue personnel keep the remains of a victim covered as they transport the body away from the site of a fire in Old Montreal. (Radio-Canada)

Crews are resuming the search for victims of a five-alarm fire in a historic building in Old Montreal where two bodies have already been recovered. 

On Wednesday, Montreal fire operations chief Martin Guilbault said search teams intend to remove the building's two chimneys to make the site accessible. 

Montreal police inspector David Shane said police won't provide details about which sections of the building would be investigated first to avoid speculation about which victims would be identified. 

"We are well aware that the wait is currently very hard and painful for the families, especially each time we announce the discovery of a new victim in the rubble," Shane said.

A second body was recovered at about 5:45 p.m. at the site of the fire in Old Montreal Tuesday evening, according to the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), who said the remains were being transferred to a laboratory for identification.

Last week, a fire tore through the three-storey, 15-unit building at the intersection of Place d'Youville and Saint-Nicolas Street.

WATCH | Aerial video showing scene of deadly fire:

Aerial video shows aftermath of deadly fire in Old Montreal

6 months ago
Duration 0:48
Drone footage shows an aerial view of the fire that ravaged a historic building in Old Montreal.

The body of the first victim — an unidentified woman — was recovered Sunday from the rubble.

Five others are still missing.

Nine people, three of whom had serious injuries, were transported to the hospital.

Guilbault said at a news conference Tuesday morning that crews were unable to enter the building due to the risk of collapse. He said teams were continuing to scan the site from a safe distance.

Shane said identifying the bodies will be a "long process," in part because victims need to be identified through at least one scientific method, such as dental records or DNA.

"We will not be able to give names very fast, but we cannot make a mistake," said Shane, who recognized the wait could feel "unbearable" for family members.


Joe Bongiorno is an author, former high school teacher and a journalist at the CBC. He has also reported for Canadian Geographic, Maisonneuve, Canada’s National Observer and others. You can reach him at

with files from the Canadian Press