— Lori Graham (@LGrahamCTV) June 20, 2013
A large explosion has occurred at the B.E.M. fireworks factory west of Montreal, sending giant plumes of smoke into the air and prompting an emergency response and evacuation.
In this video you can see fireworks launching into the sky out of the raging blaze:
Here’s what we know about this breaking story:
1. ‘B.E.M. is a ‘Master Fireworks Handler’
The factory is located at 62 Rue Masson, Coteau-du-Lac. It appears to be in a rural neighborhood:
According to the company’s website, B.E.M. is a “master fireworks handler” that both makes fireworks and conducts fireworks shows.
Here’s a fireworks safety page featured on the site:
2. The Area is Evacuated
BEM Fireworks factory in Coteau-du-Lac has exploded. Hwy 20 closed in both directions near St. Emmanuel. Security perimetre of 1.5 km set up
— Allison Hanes (@AllisonHanes) June 20, 2013
The blast reportedly prompted an evacuation, with perimeter set up in a 1-kilometer radius or greater, depending on varying reports.
3. A Major Traffic Artery Has Been Shut Down
Traffic jammed on hwy 20 w because of explosion at fireworks factory pic.twitter.com/rVNWLBKZO0
— Steve Rukavina (@Steverukavina) June 20, 2013
Highway 20, which connects with Quebec City with Montreal, is closed in both directions. Wikipedia calls Highway 20 “a major Quebec autoroute through one of the most densely populated parts of Canada.”
Some explosion detoured us on the way to Niagara falls https://t.co/AbESjFoTEe
— Andrew Fazio (@fazdogg) June 20, 2013
4. The Fire is Fiercely Raging and Difficult to Contain
Fireworks explosion west of Montreal. Crew en route. Live at noon CTV Montreal pic.twitter.com/s6fLrEowsc
— Barry Wilson (@BWilsonCTV) June 20, 2013
As of 9:45 a.m., the fire was still burning and small explosions continued. According to the Montreal Gazette, the intense blaze is preventing firefighters from approaching, and firefighting helicopters are engaged.
5. Injuries Are Unknown at the Time
According to the Montreal Gazette, a local police official cannot confirm whether there are injuries:
“I can’t tell you if there are (people) injured or not,” Sgt. Joyce Kemp of the Sûreté du Québec said.