Three apartment buildings were evacuated as a precaution, in the borough of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, in Montreal, on Saturday afternoon. They showed possible signs of collapse.

Most of the tenants had returned to their apartment on Avenue De Lorimier, near Rue Holt, by early evening.

A family of six who live on the ground floor of one of the three buildings was, however, waiting for permission to return to their accommodation.

“I was having lunch, and there, boom, boom in the door. I look out the window and there are firefighters,” says Frédéric Gauthier, who lives in one of the three evacuated buildings.

It was early afternoon. Firefighters told him to leave his apartment as soon as possible. “It’s unsettling,” said the young man.

A call from a citizen alerted the Montreal Fire Department (SIM) to possible signs of impending collapse in one of the buildings. On site, the prevention inspectors did notice signs of structural instability.

“In these cases, we don’t take any risks, we do a preventive evacuation”, specifies the prevention chief of the SIM, Kevin Francœur.

A total of 15 homes were evacuated, an estimated 30 to 40 people. A Red Cross team was on hand to help the victims.

By early evening, the engineer sent by the building owner to assess the structure had given the go-ahead for most of the tenants to be reinstated.

The family of Farida and Rachid Benzai, however, still had to wait. According to the couple, excavation work was underway in the basement of their building.

On Saturday morning, a worker “ripped off a concrete slab with his shovel,” Farida said. “I felt the vibration and called 911,” says the mother of four.

Québec solidaire spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois was on hand to support the tenants evacuated from his riding.

“We were already in contact with one of the affected families who questioned us about the state of their apartment. I am concerned about what led to today’s alert, ”the MP for Gouin reacted on Twitter.