A cigarette butt in a pot of flowers caused a major fire on the roof of the building that houses Le Devoir, in the Latin Quarter, in Montreal, confirmed the firefighters Monday evening.
The blaze did not hurt anyone, and everyday workers were trying to produce the Tuesday edition.
The Montreal Fire Department (SIM) received a call around 5:30 pm on Monday for a fire that broke out on the roof’s wooden deck, located on Berri Street. Le Devoir is one of the tenants of the building, where the DeSerres stores headquarters are also located.
When the Devoir employees began evacuating the building, the sprinklers had already activated, said Florent Daudens, who is the director of digital news at the newspaper.
According to journalist Lisa Marie Gervais on Twitter, the employees of Le Devoir , who are on the eighth and ninth floors, came out of the building, because they began to smell the smoke. The alarm did not seem to sound at their level.
A hundred firefighters intervened to control the fire, with the authorities issuing a fourth alarm – meaning additional reinforcements. The police came to their aid to manage the traffic in the area, where some sections of streets were closed.
Duty Director Brian Myles was expecting “heavy damage”.
For its part, the fire department was reassuring, saying that the damage was certainly considerable, but that the offices may be reinstated eventually.
According to SIM operations chief David Shelton, even though the fire has spread to the roof of the neighboring building, the damage should be limited to the exterior of the buildings, and the interior of the building where Le Devoir is located should not be damaged.
Le Devoir set up a crisis cell to produce the Tuesday edition as planned.
“I do not know if it’s going to be 100% as usual, but we’re going out because we do not know how to do anything else. We will do everything to deliver all our editions: paper and digital, “said Mr. Myles in the early evening.
Le Devoir paper editions are not printed in their offices; they are produced by Imprimerie Mirabel, which belongs to Quebecor.
“If we are able to go out tonight, we’ll be able to do the following days, it’s clear. It’s going to be an additional logistical challenge, but it’s nothing insurmountable, “Myles concluded.