Boy with autism orphaned by Quebec apartment fire

CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV MontrealPublished Monday, February 11, 2019 8:43AM EST

A boy with autism has been orphaned after three of his family members were killed in a fire that engulfed an apartment building in Longueuil, Que.

The fire, which broke out during the early hours of Feb. 9, claimed the lives of the boy’s parents, both in their 40s, and his grandmother, who was in her 60s.

The City of Longueuil sits on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River, directly across from Montreal.

According to CTV Montreal, witnesses described seeing the boy jump from a third floor balcony before the building was completely engulfed in flames.

Police say the boy is 11 or 12 and nonverbal. He is currently in hospital and will be released into the care of other family members who did not live in the building.

Ten others were also hospitalized for burns and fractures sustained while escaping the building, according to CTV Montreal.

Working in strong winds and temperatures that felt like -20 degrees Celsius, firefighters worked in extremely difficult conditions Saturday, with water from their hoses freezing on contact with the ground. It took seven hours to completely suppress the blaze. The 16-unit building was so damaged that it has since been reduced to rubble.

Police say the fire is not being considered suspicious and was likely started by a cooking device in the building’s basement.

Some residents who spoke to CTV Montreal said they didn’t hear a fire alarm. But the building’s superintendent told CTV Montreal said that the fire alarms are checked annually and were working at the time of the blaze.

Anyone wanting to make donations to help the victims is being urged to contact the City of Longueuil at 450-463-7311 or the local charitable group L’Entraide Chez Nous.

For more, visit CTV Montreal.

With files from The Canadian Press

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