NEWS

Pointe-Claire blaze leaves family of 8 homeless

12/30/2011 11:13 EST | Updated 02/29/2012 05:12 EST

A family of eight has been left homeless after their west Montreal home was destroyed by fire.

All eight got out of the Pointe-Claire home safely, but the residence is now uninhabitable.

The fire broke out at around 12 p.m. on Thursday at 98 Cragmore Road, fire officials said.

Neighbour Gordon Reid said he heard the fire trucks coming down the street and smelled smoke and went outside to see what was going on.

“Almost immediately, it was just flames coming out the top,” he said. “It took no time at all — it was so fast.”

Another neighbour, Stephen O’Connor, ran outside with his cell phone and captured the fire on its camera.

“The whole attic completely burst into flames,” he said. “Everyone managed to get out alright though.”

The residents, a family from Egypt who have been in Canada just 18 months, fled to a neighbour’s house across the street.

One of those residents, Ghada Abdelrazak Elmansoury, told CBC she was cooking when a grease fire started in the kitchen and quickly got out of hand.

“I was afraid,” said Elmansoury's18-year-old daughter, Perry. “My small sisters, they were crying. We went out in the ice and we were wearing nothing on our feet. We lost everything in the house.”

The family has had problems with the stove in the past and had advised their landlord, but nothing was done, according to Perry.

“When we put oil or water or anything on it, the fire comes up,” she said, explaining the stove would overheat when they were cooking.

Fire officials have confirmed the blaze began on the stove.

No insurance

The family did not have insurance, Perry said.

She said the family is struggling now because of their new immigrant status. Her father was still in Egypt at the time of the fire, but is on his way to Montreal.

The Red Cross is putting the family up in a hotel for three nights, but Perry said the family is having difficulty finding something more long-term.

“They gave me the numbers, then I called them and they said because you’re not here in Montreal for three years, they can not do anything,’” Perry said.

WATCH: Stephen O'Connor's additional video of the fire

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