Canadian investigators seek seven missing after fire at Montreal building

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Firefighters watch as investigators inspect a three-storey heritage building in Old Montreal where a fire broke out last week leaving seven people unaccounted for, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada March 19, 2023. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

MONTREAL (Reuters) – Police and fire officials in Canada said they were preparing on Sunday to search the rubble of a Montreal heritage building for seven missing people believed trapped after flames engulfed the site last week.

Flowers were left across a courtyard from the beige stone building in the historic Old Montreal district as workers took steps to secure the three-storey structure which remained inaccessible to firefighters and police on Sunday morning.

It took more than 100 firefighters to contain the fire at the building, which broke out on Thursday morning and left several injured, said Marie-Eve Beausoleil, a spokesperson for the city’s fire department, the Service de securite incendie de Montreal.

The fire’s cause is unknown.

Montreal Police spokesperson Jean-Pierre Brabant said investigators had reason to believe there were victims inside.

Apartments in the building were used both by long-term residents and guests who were staying there short-term after booking lodgings through Airbnb, Beausoleil said on Saturday.

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