Derelict Plateau building partially collapses; 40 people forced from their homes

About 40 people were suddenly forced from their homes on Tuesday evening after a derelict building in the Plateau Mont-Royal borough partially collapsed.

The building is on Esplanade Ave. between Mount Royal Ave. and Marie Anne St. It was built in 1904, and is designated a heritage building by the Quebec government.

In recent years, however, the stately-looking graystone building has gone unoccupied. In 1984, the city find the building's owner for failing to maintain it properly. It was deemed unsafe in 1996.

The borough once tried, and failed, to take the owner to court to seize the building, which is surrounded by fencing as a precaution.

The Red Cross arrived to assist neighboring residents and offer shelter, while firefighters worked to steady the building.

The order to evacuate came at around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night. A 73-year-old man had to be forcibly removed from his home, and was later arrested for obstruction and assaulting a police officer.

Meanwhile, many other locals say something should have been done with the building sooner.

"Our heritage buildings should be saved, but they should have been done, like, decades ago," one man told CJAD 800 on Wednesday morning.

Acting borough mayor Alex Norris echoed the same sentiments in a radio interview Wednesday, calling the decades-long situation "frustrating".

CJAD 800's Matt Gilmour contributed to this report.