Police officers from the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) were called today, around 10:00 am, for assistance to the fire department for an ongoing fire in an apartment building in the former Hôtel Gascon on Route 148 in Pointe-au-chêne.  The fire was brought under control by firefighters from Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, Grenville village,  Harrington, and Brownsburg-Chatham.  Unfortunately, shortly before 1:00 p.m., firefighters discovered a deceased person inside one of the apartments.

An investigation has been initiated to verify the causes and circumstances of this fire as well as to identify the victim and  cause of death.

The investigation is being carried out by the SQ Major Crime Investigation Department, since there was a death.

Firefighters remained at the scene into the afternoon.  Route 148 was closed between Chemin Kilmar and Chemin Avoca.  Fire trucks were going back and forth to collect water from a hydrant in Calumet.

Citizens rescue resident

While the building was on fire, two private citizens went into the building to help a man living on the second floor escape.  The two citizens shouted, asking if there were any others in the building who needed help but did not hear any responses.

Fundraisers for residents

Melissa Beliveau, who works at the depanneur in Pointe-au-chêne has organized a collection of items and funds for the four residents who lost their homes and belongings in the fire.  Donations of money can be made online at https://www.gofundme.com/f/aider-les-sinistres-du-feu-a-pointe-au-chene , or at the depanneur counter.  Donations of clothing, furniture, and other household items may also be left at the depanneur in Pointe-au-chêne.  Items are required for one woman and three men.  The telephone number for the store is 819-242-9696.

Sabrina Bellemare’s father Ghislain lived in the building and lost everything in the fire.  He did not have insurance on his possessions.  She has started a GoFundMe fundraiser online to raise $2,000 to assist him.  As of 2 p.m. Saturday, $1,040 had been raised.  To donate, go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/aider-ghislain-qui-a-tout-perdu-dans-lincendie .

Firefighter atop an aerial ladder at the former hotel fire in Pointe-au-chêne on Friday, March 5, 2021. Photo : James Morgan