Major fire destroys historic building in downtown Magog

Photo - CBC News
Photo - CBC News
CBC News

--October 16, 2018.

larger_magog.jpgA major fire razed a large historic building in the heart of downtown Magog in Quebec's Eastern Townships Tuesday morning.

The building was built in the early 1900s and had businesses on the main floor, with two floors of apartment units above.

Fifteen people are without a home because of the fire, but none of them were hurt. The city says a firefighter was lightly injured.

The first call to police came at 3:46 a.m. By 6 a.m., the entire building was engulfed in flames and parts of the structure could be seen crumbling.

At least two other buildings were damaged in the fire, which more than 60 firefighters were still battling hours later.

In a press conference Tuesday morning, Magog Mayor Vicki May Hamm said the fire appeared to have been started after strong winds knocked a hydro pole down in front of the building.

A video taken early this morning shows the building's entire facade falling into the street.

William Theriault Venne and his girlfriend Sofyana Dupuis moved into the building last week and were planning on getting insurance for his unit today. They say they lost everything.

Venne says he heard an electricity pole fall down onto the street during the night and then saw its transformer explode. He believes it started a fire in one of the shops on the first floor.

He and Dupuis tried to go back to sleep afterward, but the smell of smoke kept him awake and he decided to call firefighters.

Venne tried to activate the building's fire alarm, but said it wouldn't go off.

"I went back upstairs and screamed into the hallway, 'OK, everybody has to get out. There's a fire!'" Venne said.