‘Devastating’ fire rips through strip mall in Montreal’s West Island

Click to play video: 'Business owners devastated after fire destroys Pierrefonds strip mall'
Business owners devastated after fire destroys Pierrefonds strip mall
WATCH: Montreal's Fire Department is investigating following a two-alarm at a West Island strip mall. There were no injuries reported, but the blaze completely ravaged at least half a dozen small businesses. Global's Felicia Parrillo reports – Jan 25, 2023

A major fire ripped through a Pierrefonds-Roxboro strip mall early Wednesday, leaving a path of destruction in its wake and a handful of small business owners to pick up the pieces.

Anjali Singh’s mother owns Anjali Beauty, a salon in the stretch that has been open for 12 years. The pair stood outside the gutted stretch on St-Charles Boulevard, taking in the damage.

The family doesn’t know how to proceed from here.

“To see our salon being completely shattered, it just breaks our hearts so much,” Singh said. “Just seeing my mom like this ⁠— she’s worked so many years on this. It’s painful.”

The Montreal fire department was alerted to the blaze around 1:30 a.m. at Place Avalon, a busy commercial property in the city’s West Island.

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By the time firefighters had arrived, the flames had spread throughout the complex. Part of the roof collapsed on the mall, though no injuries or evacuations were reported.

Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough Mayor Jim Beis said several small businesses were damaged in the process and that his thoughts are with store owners who provided services to the community.

“Our thoughts are with them and hope for a quick rebuild for them all,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

The fire department acted quickly, Beis said, and helped salvage other stores. He also thanked the public works department for its support during “this terrible event.”

“Know that we will be there to assist in any way we can those affected by providing the guidance necessary should they want to rebuild,” he wrote.

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Tamer Hanna owns Mr. Milky, a café that has been located at Place Avalon since August 2019.

“I don’t know what’s the next step for me,” he said, adding he will have to talk to the mall’s owner about the fire. “I don’t know what I will do, if I will be able to come back. I really don’t know. I’m sad, I’m shocked.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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