The facade of the building ravaged by flames three days earlier in Old Montreal was about to be dismantled on Sunday, in order to allow the search for the missing people.
In the morning on Sunday, investigators from the arson squad of the Montreal Police Service, installed on a basket, photographed the scene.
During the day, the bricks of the facade will be removed one by one. “Since the building is heritage, the bricks must be kept,” said SPVM spokesperson Jean-Pierre Brabant. The demolition could take several days or even weeks.
When the removal of the bricks has begun, the firefighters will be able to begin the search for the people still missing. Until now, firefighters could not enter the scene of the fire due to concerns about the condition of the building’s structure. “There is no roof anymore, so it became dangerous and risky for the staff to go inside,” said Mr. Brabant.
At least seven people are missing, the Montreal Police Service announced late Saturday evening. Investigators do not rule out that a higher number of victims are in the rubble.
To ensure the safety of pedestrians, the perimeter surrounding the stage was extended on Sunday. An area reserved for families of missing persons has also been set up.
Tourists who had rented apartments on the Airbnb platform, which is not authorized in this area of the metropolis, were in the building at the time of the fire, confirmed on Saturday the arson commander of the SPVM, Steve Belzil.
A total of nine people were taken to hospital, and two of them remain in hospital with severe burns, Belzil said Saturday. A firefighter was also injured while battling the blaze after receiving blood from a victim in the eye.
The cause of the fire has still not been determined.