Donations pour in after Christmas Day fire leaves 50 people homeless

Donations are pouring in for 50 people who were left homeless after a fire destroyed four triplexes in the Montreal borough of Verdun on Christmas Day.

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Officials said the fire started from a lit cigarette that was left on a third-floor balcony of one of the triplexes. While most of the fire was contained to the upper floors, all of the triplexes were destroyed from smoke and water damage.

Many affected residents have been living with friends or family, and some have been living in hotels. One resident told CTV Montreal he's been living in a hotel for three days with his family members.

Borough councillors were quick to act after the fire broke out, opening up a local bookstore so people could wait inside while officials made arrangements.

"There was a seven-year-old girl that I had to explain to her with her mother that she lost her Christmas gifts," Coun. Marie-Eve Brunet said. "That was kind of hard."

Verdun Mayor Jean-François Parenteau put out a call on Facebook for donations from the community, and it wasn't long before families arrived bearing furniture, clothing and toys.

"It's crazy now, the population's level of support," the mayor said.

Most of the affected residents didn't have insurance, so the donated items are highly appreciated.

"Everything I’m wearing Verdun gave me," resident Tracey Carter said. "And that's great, and I thank them very much."

As the borough is working on a better housing solution, the residents of the triplexes are trying to stay positive.

"Things happen for a reason," Carter said through tears. "Maybe this is one reason – to help us get along better."

With a report from CTV Montreal's Natalie Nanowski


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