Unattended cigarette may have caused Montreal fire that killed mother, daughter – CTV News

Unattended cigarette may have caused Montreal fire that killed mother, daughter - CTV News
Mother and daughter killed in Lachine apartment fire, another child in critical condition
A fire in an apartment building in the Lachine borough in Montreal cost the lives of an 8-year-old girl and a 40-year-old woman. SOURCE Theirry Laforce, Roussillon News

MONTREAL — An unattended cigarette may be behind a fire inside a west-end Montreal apartment late Friday that left a woman and her eight-year-old daughter dead and her five-year-old daughter fighting for her life, police said Saturday.

Police say an unattended cigarette might be what sparked a fire in a Montreal apartment unit that has left a woman and her eight-year-old daughter dead.

Five members of one family were inside the apartment when the fire broke out around 11 p.m. Friday, Montreal police said, in a 51-unit building in Lachine in the citys west end.

Const. Jean-Pierre Brabant says the twin boys jumped from a second-storey back balcony to evade the flames, suffering minor injuries.

The mother, 40, and her eight-year-old daughter were pronounced dead in hospital while her five-year-old daughter remained in critical condition in hospital on Saturday.

All five people are members of the same family and police say the five-year-old girl remains in critical condition today.

Const. Jean-Pierre Brabant said during the fire, the twins jumped from a second-storey balcony to evade the flames, suffering minor injuries.

The fire broke out about 11 p.m. Friday in an apartment in a 51-unit building in Lachine, in western Montreal.

The teens were taken to hospital and investigators hope to meet with them later to find out what transpired inside the unit.

Brabant says investigators are working with a hypothesis that a forgotten cigarette sparked the fire.

MONTREAL – An unattended cigarette may be behind a fire inside a west-end Montreal apartment late Friday that left a woman and her eight-year-old daughter dead and her five-year-old daughter fighting for her life, police said Saturday.

"Theres still analysis that has to be done by investigators to confirm all that," Brabant said. "The first hypothesis we are looking at is a cigarette that was forgotten that caused the fire."

There was a smoke alarm in the apartment, Griffith said. Was it functional or not, its difficult to determine for now because of the intensity of the flames and the heat at the arrival of firefighters.

A small collection of stuffed animals sat at the front door of the building on Duff Court Street and hand-drawn pictures were taped to the glass after investigators opened up a large perimeter.

Theres still analysis that has to be done by investigators to confirm all that, Brabant said. The first hypothesis we are looking at is a cigarette that was forgotten that caused the fire.

The Montreal fire department said they came face to face with an intense blaze when they arrived at the scene.

A small collection of stuffed animals sat at the front door of the building on Duff Court Street and hand-drawn pictures were taped to the glass after investigators opened up a large perimeter.

Operations chief Matthew Griffith said when firefighters arrived, the blaze was intense enough that 70 firefighters were called to combat it.

Five members of one family were inside the apartment when the fire broke out around 11 p.m. Friday, Montreal police said, in a 51-unit building in Lachine in the citys west end.

"There was a smoke alarm in the apartment," Griffith said. "Was it functional or not, its difficult to determine for now because of the intensity of the flames and the heat at the arrival of firefighters."

The mother, 40, and her eight-year-old daughter were pronounced dead in hospital while her five-year-old daughter remained in critical condition in hospital on Saturday.

A 40-year-old woman and her eight-year-old daughter have died after a fire in an apartment block in Montreal's Lachine borough, Montreal police have confirmed.

Const. Jean-Pierre Brabant said during the fire, the twins jumped from a second-storey balcony to evade the flames, suffering minor injuries.

Three of the woman's children were also injured in the blaze, with one of them in critical condition. 

Operations chief Matthew Griffith said when firefighters arrived, the blaze was intense enough that 70 firefighters were called to combat it.

The neighbourhood was in mourning Saturday, with children and adults placing plush toys on the doorsteps of the apartment building.

The teens were taken to hospital and investigators hope to meet with them later to find out what transpired inside the unit.

The fire broke out at about 11 p.m. Friday on the second floor of a 51-unit apartment building on Duff Court Street.

The Montreal fire department said they came face to face with an intense blaze when they arrived at the scene.

"Due to the rapid intervention of the firefighters, it was contained to that apartment only," said Matthew Griffith, speaking for the Montreal fire department. 

Brabant says investigators are working with a hypothesis that a forgotten cigarette sparked the fire.

Griffith said the intensity of the flames when firefighters entered the unit made it impossible to tell whether the smoke alarm in the apartment was working. About 70 firefighters worked to evacuate the building and extinguish the fire.

Firefighters and paramedics tried to resuscitate the woman and her daughter but they were declared dead at the scene, Montreal police said. One other daughter, 4, is still in critical condition.

The woman's two 13-year-old sons were also taken to hospital, but their injuries are not life-threatening. The two boys survived by jumping off the second-floor balcony, Montreal fire spokesperson Louise Desrosiers said Saturday afternoon. 

"People will be able to go back to their apartments. We made sure that the alarm system was working and everybody had [a] smoke alarm, too," said Desrosiers. 

The police arson squad is investigating the fire because of the two deaths. They said it's too early to confirm what caused the fire, but they suspect it may have been caused by a cigarette. 

Charon Chukwu, who has four children of her own, also lives in the apartment block. When she heard the alarm go off, she said she hesitated to leave the building. Many of the tenants were still asleep and there was confusion when the alarm first sounded, she said.

"I thought maybe it was the usual alarm, maybe it's smoke from somebody's cooking," said Chukwu. "So I was hesitant coming down until I heard the screaming, and it was really serious."

Chukwu was a friend of the 40-year-old woman, and was horrified when she found out what had happened. She said the victim was friendly and always worked hard to support her children. 

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

It is a priority for CBC to create a website that is accessible to all Canadians including people with visual, hearing, motor and cognitive challenges.