For the primary time, the proprietor of a constructing in Previous Montreal has responded to questions concerning the lethal hearth — via his lawyer — addressing allegations that the constructing was unsafe.
Within the hours after the fireplace, questions started to emerge concerning the constructing’s security. The household of 18-year-old Charlie Lacroix, one of many seven presumed useless, says she was trapped in a windowless room.
“She made two 911 calls. The primary one was to inform them we’re caught, there is a hearth in every single place, however there isn’t any home windows, so there isn’t any strategy to escape,” stated Kelly Ann Seguin, Lacroix’s good friend.
However Alexandre Bergevin, the lawyer for the proprietor of the constructing, Emile-Haim Benamor, informed CTV Information that the constructing was as much as code.
“He purchased this place like that, it was like that. Town got here and it was, you understand, conform. What can I let you know?” Bergevin stated.
ROOM WITH NO WINDOWS
A video posted to Reddit in 2020 reveals a windowless room within the constructing that Lacroix was doubtless staying in. Bergevin stated the unit was close to two inside hearth escape routes.
“For her, it was doable to get out on the left and on the proper,” he stated, acknowledging there was no window to flee from.
“No,” he stated, “however for those who’re dwelling in a constructing in Montreal, in a tower, you can not leap out your window if there’s a hearth alarm. You could get an escape path to get out.”
As the fireplace raged within the constructing, others managed to flee out home windows. Some survivors informed CTV Information they didn’t hear a hearth alarm.
“I did see a hearth alarm, just like the spherical pill, bodily, two of them within the unit, however none of them had truly went off,” claimed Alina Kuzmina in an interview final Saturday.
A police officer hugs a lady close to the location of a constructing that was gutted by a hearth in Montreal, Thursday, March 23, 2023. The heritage constructing went up in flames final week. 4 our bodies have been recovered and three folks stay lacking. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
SMOKE ALARMS WORKED, LAWYER SAYS
In response to Bergevin, “All items have been presupposed to have smoke detectors.”
He stated his consumer, Benamor, changed the central alarm system in 2019 and insists upkeep staff checked it was working the morning of the fireplace.
“It’s also the duty [of] the leasee to have one and to ensure it is working,” he added.
Bergevin confirmed Tariq Hasan was renting a number of items within the constructing after which renting them out on Airbnb. Town, nonetheless, doesn’t enable short-term leases within the space.
A employee is proven subsequent to a constructing that was gutted by a hearth in Montreal, Thursday, March 23, 2023. The heritage constructing went up in flames final week. 4 our bodies have been recovered and three folks stay lacking. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Bergevin stated Benamor was attempting to close him down. He stated two notices have been despatched in August of final yr however the listings stayed up. One former tenant of the constructing informed CTV Information that Benamor allowed the operation to proceed.
“No, no, that is utterly false. I did not see any proof. I see solely proof in opposition to the assertion,” he stated.
Hasan and his lawyer each declined to touch upon Thursday.
In the meantime, Bergevin says it isn’t the time to assign duty.
“There’s a public trial happening with out proof, that the media is doing in opposition to the consumer, and I simply need all people to watch out, to be relaxed and to attend till the authorities decide what occurred there,” Bergevin stated.
Each Montreal police and the coroner are trying into the trigger and circumstances surrounding this lethal hearth that has to this point left 4 folks useless and not less than three lacking.