OHS Canada Magazine

Updated: 5 people hospitalized after Quebec explosion


Five people were hospitalized after an explosion and a fire at a food complex in Sherbrooke, Que., on Wednesday, a hospital spokesperson said.

Some of the patients had “major injuries” and had to be transferred to specialized centres, Dr. Marie-Maud Couture, head of the emergency department at the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke, told reporters. She did not confirm their ages or whether any of the injuries were life-threatening.

Earlier Wednesday, firefighters in the city located about 150 kilometres east of Montreal were called to the fire at the complex after witnesses reported an explosion.

A huge plume of smoke was visible several kilometres away from the Centre de Valorisation de l’Aliment de l’Estrie, a business that promotes locally produced food and is located in a mainly industrial and commercial area in the west end of the city.

Sherbrooke fire Chief Stéphane Simoneau said the biggest issue is that the complex is massive and contains many combustible items.

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He said the building is very unstable because of the explosion, further hindering efforts to bring the fire under control. Many firefighters, police and paramedics were on scene.

The business describes itself on its website as a food hub with 24,000 square feet of space, including industrial kitchens for food production and processing, storage space and a local grocery store.