NEWS

Fire destroys former Montreal church

09/13/2011 11:33 EDT | Updated 11/13/2011 05:12 EST

A fire has ravaged a former church in Montreal's east end, destroying the building and forcing a community group that serves disadvantaged families to scramble to make alternate arrangements.

Montreal's fire department received an emergency call around 3 a.m. Tuesday and more than 100 firefighters were dispatched to the scene to try to control the flames.

Fire chief Luc Robillard said the fire broke out at the back of the building on Bercy St near Ontario St. East.

"We have a lot of difficulty to take off the fire because they have two or three roofs in some places and the fire has spread," he said Tuesday morning.

Nobody was injured in the fire, but the building is a complete loss.

The former church houses Maison Adrianna, a community organization that distributes food to families in the neighbourhood, and it had to cancel Tuesday afternoon's distribution.

"I feel sad for the people we serve," said Maison Adrianna's general director Raynald Leboeuf. "We help about 200 families every week on Tuesdays and Thursday afternoons for food distribution. Obviously today nobody will get any food."

Leboeuf said his group will try to arrange with the nearby Centre Jean-Claude Malepart to ensure that Thursday's food distribution takes place as planned.

The building was being renovated to build new offices for Maison Adrianna on the site.

Fire officials estimate the damage the fire caused at $500,000.

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