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DDO fire leaves 150 homeless

Saturday evening, close to 150 firefighters were called to fight a fire that struck two buildings on Brunswick Blvd. just before 9 p.m. The fire travelled from the ground floor to the roof and went from a single-alarm fire to a five-alarm fire in about 30 minutes. According to Patrick Fournel — section chief of Service incendie de Montreal (SIM) — the fires led to the evacuation of 149 homes to ensure the safety of residents.

The firefighters did their best to extinguish the fire just before 10:30 pm. A dark cloud of smoke was visible in the surrounding area where the fire happened.

Four members of the Red Cross were present on the scene as well to help residents. About 20 buildings were damaged in the end.

To accommodate those without a home for the night, a bus came over to drive victims over to a temporary location. Over 70 residents are being accommodated in two local hotels.

Firefighters were still on Brunswick Boulevard Sunday morning. The Red Cross has helped 75 families by providing food, clothing, and temporary housing. One man was treated for smoke inhalation. No other serious injuries reported. Facebook and social media groups have formed to gather help and supplies for the victims.

The decision to contact the police to investigate was made after firefighters evaluated the great speed with which the blaze had spread, Fournel said. The arson squad arrived at about 9:30 a.m. Sunday and remained on the scene until about 1:30 p.m.

{span}The West Island community is rallying to help the residents of the apartment building. Anastasia Assimakopoulos and friends created the Facebook group Brunswick Fire Donations and Volunteers. She and friends have organized a clothing drive for the weekend of June 12th at the Hellenic Community of the West Island. A donation drop off point has also been set up at 33 Brunswick. Also, Pierrefonds-Dollard Conservative candidate Terry Roberts has set up a “trust fund to support the more than 100 victims, as well as working with local teams to find supply warehouse space for donations. So far, I have secured $10,000 through leaders of the local Hindu temple. I will be reaching out throughout the local community.”

EMSB half-day strike

EMSB students get more time off next week, as the Syndicat des Professionnelles et Professionnels du milieu de l’éducation de Montréal (SPPMEM) CSQ has filed an official strike action to express their dissatisfaction with their collective bargaining negotiations and the Quebec government.

The right to strike on Wednesday runs until noon, so EMSB schools will only offer afternoon classes and only online.

At some schools, Like Royal Vale high school in N.D.G., students are proceeding with cumulative math and French exams, and had an extra day of school cancelled to stay home and study. It means some students have just three-and-a-half days of school next week, as schools move toward full attendance.

The Lester B. Pearson School Board has cancelled all elementary and secondary school classes on Wednesday, as its union belonging to the same federation strikes, and in adult education and vocational training centres any morning classes will also be cancelled. However, continuing education classes and activities that are scheduled to begin after 12 p.m. on Wednesday will proceed as planned.

Centre de services scolaire de Montréal schools are adjusting schedules accordingly, with a view to respecting the picket lines, health guidelines and maintaining as high level of educational services as possible across its network.

For elementary, classes are cancelled for the day with no online classes. However, as with earlier strike actions this year, the schools and teachers will be providing students with work to complete at home, and elementary students can reach their teachers for assistance via teams or email on Wednesday afternoon.

For high school, morning classes will be cancelled and students will receive work to complete at home, with classes resuming in the afternoon according to the usual schedule.

Schools that are part of the Wednesday vaccination program will remain open as scheduled. Welcome classes and work preparation classes will be suspended in the morning with students receiving work complete at home, and class is functioning in the afternoon as normal. Students in special education classes will stay home for the day and be furnished with work to complete at home. Students at special education schools will also receive work for completion at home, followed by regular online classes in the afternoon. Vocational training classes will be held as normal but only in the afternoon.

Montreal, Laval turn yellow June 14, outdoor proms as of July 8

Premier François Legault announced at a press conference Tuesday that all of Quebec will be yellow or green zones as of June 14, with Montreal and Laval changing from orange to yellow, and that graduation proms can take place outdoors as of July 8.

Legault pointed out that, on June 8, there were only 150 new COVID-19 cases reported in all of Quebec, as well as only 49 in Montreal.

“The situation is improving and the vaccinations are going well,” the Premier said. “Quebec is one of the best places in the world for receiving a first dose. Quebecers are showing great solidarity and we have to continue.”

Legault added that with Montreal becoming yellow on June 14, bars can open indoors on that date, people from two different households can meet inside homes and outdoor team sports will be allowed. Three days earlier, on June 11, bar terrasses can open.

Regarding graduation ceremonies and proms, “we heard you loud and clear,” Legault said.

He announced that graduation ceremonies where diplomas are handed out can be held as long as distancing rules are expected. As for proms, “we agreed with Public Health that as most young people have received one dose by June 24, as of July 8, there can be proms outdoors with a maximum of 250 people.”

The Premier said the challenge in the upcoming months is for Quebecers to get the second vaccine dose.

“It doesn’t hurt much,” he quipped.