A major fire destroyed part of a building in Anjou and sent thick, dark billowing smoke into the sky early Tuesday.
At the height of the fire, about 125 firefighters and more than 30 fire trucks were trying to douse the flames engulfing the building, located in an industrial area on Jules Léger Street between Parkway and Ray Lawson boulevards.
The fire started around 3:45 a.m., said Montreal fire department operations chief John Primiani. It took several hours to put it out completely.
The back part of the building collapsed, making it difficult for the 75 firefighters at the scene to get to the flames. They took a defensive approach and hosed the ruins down from the outside.
The front of the building has water damage, but may not be a complete loss, Primiani said.
The building has a sign out front for Mirabau, a screen printing company. However, it is unclear whether the company still operates out of that location.
Employees saw fire start
About 10 employees were inside when the fire broke out, but were able to escape unharmed, Primiani said. They were being sheltered on a bus.
One employee told investigators he was transporting solvent in a barrel when he spilled it on the ground and onto a wooden palette. That solvent then caught fire.
The employees tried to put out the fire, but were unable to before it got out of control.
Primiani said officials from the province were on site monitoring air quality, but there are no concerns about the toxicity of what burned.
Electricity to the area was cut as a preventive measure, which affected traffic lights as well as nearby businesses.
One working theory, according to investigators, is that it's possible static electricity is what triggered the flames.