The fire happened in the small community of L'Isle-Verte, Quebec, located on the St. Lawrence River northeast of Quebec City in eastern Canada. "30 people are missing. We regret to announce three deaths," Quebec police said in a statement. A further nine people were taken to hospital.
Public broadcaster RDI showed photos of the residence enveloped in flames. The temperature in the area early on Thursday morning was minus 22 Celsius (minus 7.6 Fahrenheit) and RDI said high winds had fanned the fire. Police said the residence contained 52 units.
Last July, 47 people died when a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in the middle of the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic.