Roof collapses on Royal Canadian Legion building in Mascouche, Que.
Building located on des Anglais Road near Highway 640, northeast of Montreal
The roof of the Royal Canadian Legion in Mascouche, Que., collapsed early Tuesday morning, only hours after the building was filled with members playing a game of darts.
Fortunately, everyone had gone home by the time the roof caved in.
The building, belonging to the legion's 120 branch and in operation for more than 70 years, is located on des Anglais Road near Highway 640, northeast of Montreal.
Officials with the legion say there were no warning signs such as cracking ceilings or trouble opening doors in the days leading up to the incident, though a contractor had been scheduled to remove the snow on Tuesday.
From the front of the building, the damage appears minimal, but toward the back, there is now nothing but rubble — tarpaper, wood framing, fiberglass insulation and red bricks haphazardly piled up under the heavy, wet snow.
Marisa Curcio, a spokesperson for the City of Mascouche, said authorities were alerted to the collapse at 2:45 a.m. on Tuesday. The fire department verified there was nobody inside and nobody was injured, she said.
The building has since been cordoned off and closed to access because of the extent of the damage, she said.
It is sad news for the community, she added, as the legion is regularly buzzing with activities.
Mario Miller, the legion's president, said engineers are already on the site Wednesday, evaluating the extent of the damage to see how much of a claim should by made to the legion's insurance company.
On Monday night a group was playing darts in the building until nearly 10 p.m., said Marcel Rolland who has been a member of the legion for 14 years and works as a janitor at the building.
"There was nothing that indicated this would happen," he said. "It's sad. Not just for me."
Some members have been regularly going to club for decades for activities and to socialize with fellow members, he said. For some, he said, "it's a second home. It affects them a lot."
The Royal Canadian Legion, a non-profit organization founded in 1925, includes members who have served in the military or police.
The roof collapse was one of many in Quebec in recent months as buildings cave in not just in the Montreal region, but across the province.
Firefighters from various districts have recommended home and property owners monitor their roof and clear snow when possible, especially from flat roofs.
With files from Verity Stevenson