Two homes were destroyed and a third was heavily damaged after lightning struck Montreal’s north shore during a severe thunderstorm that hit southern Quebec on Thursday afternoon.
Police say lightning struck a house around 4:15 p.m. and set a house on fire on Cerisiers Street in the off-island suburb of Ste-Marthe-sur-le-Lac.
“Everything is lost. Everything is burned,” said Benoit Paquette as his family sifted through the rubble of what was once their home.
Benoit Paquette lost his family’s home in the lightning in Ste-Marthe-sur-le-Lac.
Lightning tore a hole in the roof and a fire ignited inside the house.
Paquette said he saw the flames from a distance while driving home. It wasn’t until she was closer that she realized how terrible she had been.
“We said, ‘There’s a house on fire… it was our house that was on fire,’” she said through tears.
Paquette said he lost most of his possessions, but he’s thankful his children weren’t inside when lightning struck.
A still image from a drone video shows the aftermath of a lightning strike that destroyed two houses in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, Que. and severely damaged a third home during a thunderstorm on Thursday, June 16, 2022. (CTV News)
High winds caused sparks from the fire to quickly spread to two neighboring homes.
“I have never seen a fire caused by lightning destroy houses in my 22 years as a police officer,” said Insp. Jean-Philippe Labbé with the Régie de Police du Lac des Deux-Montagnes.
Drone footage obtained by CTV News showed the aftermath of the intense storm on the residential street.
Two people were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene, but did not require hospitalization. Nine residents were evacuated from their homes and have been taken in by the Red Cross and family or friends, she added.
Firefighters spray a house with water after lightning caused a fire on Cerisiers Street in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, Que. on Thursday, June 16, 2022. (CTV News)
“Everyone is fine. We are very happy about this,” Labbé said.
“It was quite difficult because when [firefighters] I got there the fire was quite intense. Many hours after getting there, they were still fighting the fire.”
Firefighters from four neighboring municipalities helped fight the blaze and were still on scene as of 9 p.m.
Firefighters battle a fire caused by lightning on a residential street in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, Que. Thursday, June 16, 2022. (CTV News)
With files from Max Harrold, Stephane Giroux and Touria Izri of CTV News Montreal