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The B.E.M. fireworks plant and warehouse were completely destroyed by the fire and resulting blast. The cause of the fire is still not known. Authorities are still trying to determine why the fire started at B.E.M., which employed about two dozen people and has been in Coteau-du-Lac since 1970. There were no sprinklers in the building.
Two bodies were found in the still-smoldering ruins, reports the Montreal Gazette. "The initial explosion occurred shortly before 9 a.m., followed by smaller blasts and an intense fire that burned for three hours. Nearby residents were forced from their homes and a portion of Highway 20 west of Montreal was closed for hours." The Gazette also reports that "Fire Chief Stéphane Massicotte said a total of 14 fire departments responded to the call from as far away as Pincourt. There were 150 firefighters on the scene." In a later report, the Gazette identified the two killed in the inferno as Francine Lacroix, a 47-year-old resident of Riviere-Beaudette, and Nicole Brisson, 58, of Les Coteaux. Both women were B.E.M. employees.
In the video below, the explosion begins at 0:37
Video Below: News report from SUN News