June 3, 2018: a perfectly ordinary Sunday afternoon in a Saint-Eustache suburb. Children are playing street hockey, teens are hanging out in the neighbourhood, and adults are relaxing before going back to work on Monday morning. Suddenly, a balcony catches fire on René Lévesque Boulevard. The firefighters get the call. As they leave the fire hall, they can already see a gigantic cloud of smoke high in the sky. When they arrive at the scene, Captain Marco Deschênes and Lieutenant Pier-Marc Girard can see how serious it is at a glance. They send out the general alarm to call in all the municipality’s firefighters, as well as reinforcements from neighbouring towns.
Extremely strong winds blew the flames from the balcony toward the neighbouring houses, which were very close to each other. In no time, the fire spread, reducing houses to ashes! By the end of the day, nothing remained of the home where the fire had started but its foundations. The losses were staggering. Four homes on René Lévesque Boulevard were totally destroyed; the fronts and yards of two houses opposite were also destroyed, and the siding on four other homes on Cardinal Street had melted.
Captain Marco Deschênes talks about his experience (subtitles available in FR and EN) – Watch the video with the transcript (EN).
Lieutenant Pier-Marc Girard talks about his experience (subtitles available in FR and EN) – Watch the video with the transcript (EN).
The firefighters searched the charred rubble for clues and concluded that the cause of the fire could have been an electrical failure. Given the strong wind and flames, without the outstanding work of Saint-Eustache firefighters, the whole neighbourhood would probably have gone up in smoke.