Quebec City firefighters rescue two people and two cats from apartment fire

A cigarette seems to be the cause of an apartment fire in Quebec City that prompted firefighters to rescue two people from their balconies as well as two cats. SOURCE: SPCIQ

A cigarette seems to be the cause of a fire in an apartment building in Quebec City, where firefighters rescued two people on their balcony.

Emergency services were alerted by several 911 calls around 4:20 p.m. Friday.

The flames originated in one of the apartments on the ground floor of the three-storey building located on Lilas St. East, in the Charlesbourg district. The apartment's smoke alarm was not functional.

Upon arrival, firefighters spotted two people on their back balconies. They used a ladder to rescue the person on the third floor in heavy smoke.

Rescuing a second person on a second-floor balcony was less difficult since the other person was in a smoke-free environment at the other end of the building. This was not the case, however, in the common corridors and stairways where a strong presence of smoke made the evacuation conditions very difficult.

"The fire spread quickly through the ground floor apartment and there was smoke all over the common areas, hallways and stairs because the fire doors were being kept open," said Quebec City fire department (SPCIQ) spokesperson Alexandre Lajoie.

#INCENDIE | 3e alarme | 860 rue des Lilas est | Situation sous-contrôle | Prises en charge de plusieurs personnes par la @CroixRouge_Qc | @RTCQuebec sur les lieux | Commissariat aux incendies sur les lieux pic.twitter.com/Yj0QStHkut

— Service incendie de la Ville de Québec (@SPCIQ) February 5, 2021

 About 50 firefighters were called to the scene to carry out rescue, evacuation, extinguishing and propagation checks. They also saved two cats during the operation.

Paramedics intervened with several tenants due to smoke inhalation. One person was transported to a hospital, but there is no fear for his life.

While the damage is mainly concentrated in the apartment where the flames originated, the damage to the rest of the building by smoke and water is significant. The fire itself was brought under control within an hour.

The tenants of the 12 apartments in the building were unable to return to the premises. Several of them were taken care of by the Red Cross.

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 6, 2021.

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