Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Trio of fires probed in Quebec

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MONTREAL -- Authorities were investigating three major fires that erupted within a single day in Quebec, while medical teams Friday dealt with serious injuries from two of them.

The worst of the fires, a violent explosion that killed two people at an industrial plant near Sherbrooke, Que., resulted in four people being treated at a Montreal burn unit. The incident, which sent 19 to hospital and destroyed a biotech plant, prompted the city to lower flags to half-mast.

One of the injured, a 42-year-old man, is in critical but stable condition, with burns to 90 per cent of his body. Three other men were seriously burned but were in stable condition. Two of the victims inhaled hot vapour and sustained burns to their respiratory tract.

A huge explosion, which could be heard for kilometres, was followed by a series of smaller blasts and a fire, which destroyed a production plant belonging to Neptune Technologies & Bioressources. Amid the wreckage, a terrified survivor was found later, hiding in the rubble.

A similar but smaller incident nearby occurred hours later, at a Bombardier Recreational Products complex also in the Eastern Townships. Two people there sustained serious burns.

Meanwhile, an investigation into a spectacular Montreal blaze was being transferred to the local police. Nobody was injured in that fire.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 10, 2012 A20

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