Quebec floods: Pierrefonds resident arrested during relief efforts to remain behind bars

Alain Furlano, a Pierrefonds-Roxboro resident who was arrested Tuesday after piling up sand bags to fix a leaking dike in the flood-stricken borough on Montreal’s West Island, will remain behind bars.

He appeared in court via video-conference Wednesday afternoon.

Furlano was charged with obstruction of justice, after allegedly failing to heed the instructions of an official who told him he wasn’t allowed to fix the dike.

“It could have been avoided,” he told Global News Tuesday prior to being handcuffed.

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    “That’s the problem. It should have been avoided.”

    Furlano argued he was only helping his neighbours who, like him, were tired of waiting for help to arrive and took matters into their own hands.

    WATCH BELOW: Residents affected by the intense Quebec floods in Montreal’s Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough are angry, saying they’ve been abandoned by the city. 

    Global News legal analyst Philip Schneider said charges against Furlano should be dropped.

    “This has got to be one of the smallest, pettiest cases possible in the province of Quebec right now – and one of the most unsympathetic,” said Schneider.

    “Sure, he was angry, you could see it on TV. But he wasn’t aggressive with the police, he wasn’t aggressive with anybody. He just wanted to unload sandbags and prevent water from rising.”

    Furlano and others who live at the intersection of 5th Avenue and Gouin Ouest are livid with how the borough has handled flooding on their street.

    They claim they know where the water is coming in from.

    They explain it’s right next to nearby train tracks, which is the AMT’s jurisdiction.

    Borough mayor Jim Beis told Global News that officials asked the AMT if they can build a dike near the tracks, but the transit agency said it never got an official request.

    Meanwhile, residents say the back and forth is driving them nuts and they just need a solution.

    “That’s all we want to do – build a little dike, 30 feet long, six feet high and this could be gone in a day,” said resident Martin Boisvert.

    On Wednesday, “Free Alain” signs popped up in Pierrefonds-Roxboro, in support of the volunteer helper.

    Furlano’s bail hearing is scheduled for Thursday.