The call came in to the fire department around 3 a.m., according to Montreal police spokesperson Anthony Cantelmi. Firefighters had the fire under control by 5 o'clock.
"According to witnesses onsite, they heard a window break and then the building caught on fire suddenly," Cantelmi said.
Fire crews also found some canisters containing a flammable substance nearby. The Montreal police force's arson squad is handling the investigation.
The building at Mirabeau and Vauban streets is the premises of Pavage CSF Inc., a paving company that has received tens of millions of dollars in contracts from the City of Montreal for work repairing and constructing sidewalks, curbs and traffic islands.
It is also listed in the provincial corporations registry as an office of Mirabeau Construction, a company that has landed contracts for at least $24 million in work, including major work on city sewers.
Both companies are owned by a network of provincial and federal numbered corporations. The principal shareholder of one of Mirabeau Construction's parent companies is Domenico Arcuri, while other shareholders of both companies are listed as Domenico Cammalleri and Domenico Miceli.
Arcuri has ties to the Rizzuto mob family. His name appears about 20 times in summaries of wiretaps from the joint police anti-Mafia operation Project Colisée, and he was spotted with Mafia bigwigs in December 2005 at the former Consenza Social Club in St. Léonard, an east Montreal café where Rizzuto and other mob bosses would meet.
The latest edition of the book Mafia Inc. by journalists André Noël and André Cédilot says Arcuri was at the heart of the reorganization of the Montreal mob.
Last weekend, a trio of homicides in the Montreal area — in which one victim was the leader of a prominent street gang and another victim a member of the same group — sparked speculation of emerging civil strife in the city's underworld. It's possible things are heating up before the anticipated return to Canada of Montreal Mafia kingpin Vito Rizzuto, who is scheduled to be released from a Colorado prison in the fall.