Quebec fireworks factory explodes

2013-06-20 22:30
Smoke billows from the BEM fireworks factory in Coteau du Lac, Quebec. (Graham Hughes, AP/The Canadian Press)

Smoke billows from the BEM fireworks factory in Coteau du Lac, Quebec. (Graham Hughes, AP/The Canadian Press)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Montreal - A massive explosion at a fireworks warehouse killed two people on Thursday, police said, leaving a huge plume of smoke blanketing an area west of Montreal.

A series of explosions subsequently leapt from the charred building after the initial blast at BEM Fireworks on Thursday morning near Valleyfield, Quebec. Images from the scene showed a building near a major highway completely destroyed.

Provincial police said two bodies were found in the wreckage but they did not identify them.

Nearly two hours after the blast, fireworks could still be heard exploding at the scene of the fire that continued to burn out of control hours after the explosion, according to witnesses.

"All of a sudden I heard, 'boom, boom, bang,'" Mario Cramerstetter said from his office, which is just over 1.6km away from the site.

"Initially I thought it was a bulldozer or a tractor but then we saw a big puff smoke. We kept on hearing popping, fireworks going off all the time."

Cramerstetter said it looked like a small building caught fire first and then spread to a larger storage unit.

"We got really, really, really scared," said Ginette Liboiron, who runs a convenience store across a highway overpass.

"I thought my store was falling to the ground. It shook like you can't imagine... We all went outside to see and saw the big, incredible smoke," she said. "It went high up in the air, then it became black, black, black."

Police ordered the surrounding community of Coteau-du-Lac evacuated. A nearby highway was also closed in both directions.

Police also said low traces of metal materials were found in the surrounding area.

Video captured by a news helicopter showed fireworks igniting inside the remnants of the smoldering building.

According to its website, BEM has been designing and manufacturing pyrotechnics and fireworks for 25 years.

Read more on:    canada  |  fires

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.