Thursday, February 17, 2011
Paintings damaged in Montreal fire
Montreal firefighters rescued several valuable works of art Sunday night after an accidental fire started in a downtown building housing a gallery.
The blaze broke out at about 5 p.m. Sunday on a floor above the Jean-Pierre Valentin gallery, which houses hundreds of works by artists such as Jean-Paul Riopelle, Marc-Aurèle Fortin, and Jean-Paul Lemieux.
No one was hurt in the fire, which was described as violent, with some 125 firefighers battling the blaze over the course of three hours.
Some paintings in the three-storey building on Sherbrooke Street were damaged by water, but officials said fire crews were able to rescue many other artifacts.
The front of the Jean-Pierre Valentin art gallery in Montreal Monday after firefighters battled a fire for three hours Sunday. (CBC/Sabrina Marandola)The Montreal fire department said although the fire started on the third floor, the first-floor art gallery was quickly threatened.
"We were preoccupied because of the water that was getting through the floors and getting to the first floor, so we decided to take all of the paintings out of the building," said Montreal fire department spokesman Bruno Lachance.
The fire department said the fire was accidental, but the actual cause will take some time to determine because of the sub-zero temperature.
Firefighters initially thought it could be arson, but an investigation by the arson squad concluded the cause was not criminal, and handed the investigation back to the fire department.
Monday morning the bottom floor of the building was boarded up, with windows broken on the top floor, and a sheet of ice with long icicles on the front of the building.
Damages are estimated at $1 million.
Please click here to see this news article on CBC-Twitter.
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