Montreal, QB Night Club Fire, Jan 1975
THIRTEEN DIE IN STORAGE CLOSET IN MONTREAL FIRE.
Montreal (AP) -- Ten men and three women were found dead in a cramped beer storage closet after a fire early today in a night club described by police as an underworld hangout.
One of the men was shot in th back and the others apparently died of smoke asphyxiation, police said.
Their bodies were found in the padlocked closed piled atop one another among cases of beer. A juke box had been pushed against the door.
Police said they believed the fire was deliberately set with the victims locked in the closet in a gangland settling of accounts.
The nightspot, the Gargantua Club, was the scene last October of the mob-style killing of two men.
Police identified the victim who had been shot in the back as REJEAN FORTIN, 44, manager of the club. One of the women victims was identified as his wife CLAIRE. Another of the women was described as a topless dancer at the club.
"We have no doubt that some of the victims were merely patrons of the club," a police spokesman said. "At this time we have not yet established whether or not any of the victims had any criminal records."
The storage closet was described by police as being about six feet square, or the size of a broom closet.
"A juke box was pulled across the locked door and it seems as if they had little chance of escaping," a police spokesman said.
The Gargantua Club is on the second floor of the building over a dry cleaning establishment in Montreal's East End.
Firemen said they had little trouble putting out a fire in the night club. From outside the building it appeared the club was charred.
The firemen said that in going through the building they noticed the padlocked door with the juke box in front of it and broke it down.
The Evening Tribune Albert Lea Minnesota 1975-01-21