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Police say an unattended cigarette might be what sparked a fire in a Montreal apartment unit that has left a woman and her eight-year-old daughter dead.

The fire broke out about 11 p.m. Friday in an apartment in a 51-unit building in Lachine, in western Montreal.

Montreal police say the deaths of the mother, 40, and her daughter were pronounced in hospital.

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Three other minors — a five-year-old girl and two boys, 13, were taken to hospital.

All five people are members of the same family and police say the five-year-old girl remains in critical condition today.

Const. Jean-Pierre Brabant says the twin boys jumped from a second-storey back balcony to evade the flames, suffering minor injuries.

Brabant says investigators are working with a hypothesis that a forgotten cigarette sparked the fire.

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