Two people are reportedly missing after a major explosion at a fireworks warehouse on Thursday rattled an area west of Montreal, sending up a cloud of thick smoke, blanketing the sky for miles.
Provincial police said two people were unaccounted for, but provided no other details, The Ottawa Citizen reported.
This news updates an earlier report from Quebec police.
“I can’t tell you if there are (people) injured or not,” Quebec Provincial Police Sgt. Joyce Kemptold the Ottawa Citizen.
The initial blast at B.E.M. Fireworks plant in Coteau-du-Lac occurred just before 9 a.m. Thursday, The Globe and Mail reported.
Images from video from the scene showed a building near a major highway engulfed in flames.
“The building lifted into the air,” Olivier Roy, 68, who lives on Le Boise St., told The Ottawa Citizen, referring to what he said was one of B.E.M.’s smaller buildings.
At 10:30 a.m., fireworks were still going off — amid billowing smoke that reached hundreds of feet into the air, above orange flames, The Citizen reported
Residents and businesses within a one-kilometre radius of the B.E.M. Fireworks plant are being evacuated as a precaution, Kemp said, CNN reported.
That means the evacuation affects people on the south side of Highway 20 near the St. Emanual exit, and closed all traffic on Highway 20 and a nearby railway line, according to CTV Montreal.
The cause of the blast is unknown.
B.E.M. has been in the pyrotechnics business for 25 years, The Montreal Gazette reported.
B.E.M. Fireworks was last chosen to represent Canada in the 2012 International des Feux Loto-Québec, the prestigious fireworks competition that has been wowing spectators down at La Ronde for decades, according to the Gazette.
Coteau-du-Lac is 60 kilometres (37.5 miles) west of Montreal.