Police search for answers at ‘extensive’ Quebec blast site that killed 3

The investigation into the cause of the fatal explosion at a propane company in north Montreal could be long and complicated. police said Tuesday after three bodies were found at the scene.

Authorities are dealing with “extensive” scenes complicated by snow, hazards, and objects projected far from the scene. police Spokeswoman Eloise Cosette said:

“It’s a very large scene with piles of rubble, so you have to be very careful,” said Cossette.

police It said late Monday that it had found the bodies of three people missing since last Thursday’s explosion at the propane Lafortune in Saint-Roch-de-Lachigan, Quebec, about 50 kilometers north of Montreal. The remains, believed to belong to workers associated with the company, were taken to a laboratory for official identification.

The local fire department received a call Thursday morning about an explosion and fire at Propane Lafortune, but the danger of further explosions forced firefighters to withdraw. was late in the evening.

The propane company later said the missing persons included two employees and a subcontractor.

Five days after the explosion, investigators were “still looking for answers” as to what caused the explosion, Cossett said. She said there were several types of fuel at the scene, including propane, gasoline, diesel and kerosene.

Cossett said the search party had to clear the snow from the site before sifting through the pile of debris.

“It’s long-term meticulous work,” she said.

of police The Major Crimes Unit is also conducting an offsite investigation that includes speaking with a number of witnesses. Mr Cosette police She said she suspected some crime had been committed, but the investigation would include taking legal action, such as obtaining a warrant.

Gregory Patience, a professor of chemical engineering at the Montreal Institute of Technology, says such explosions are very rare in Canada, but he’s not unheard of. As examples, he mentions the 2016 natural gas explosion in Mississauga, Ontario, which damaged dozens of homes, and the 2013 Lakmegantic railroad accident, in which an oil-filled train derailed and exploded. 47 people died). Located in the heart of downtown.

He said three things are required for an explosion to occur: an ignition source such as fuel, oxidation (usually air), a spark, cigarettes or even static electricity.

He said he did not know the details of what happened at Saint-Roc-de-Lacigan, but said the most likely scenario was that some sort of fuel or gas leak had ignited.

“There was no other way I could think of,” he said.

Patience added that Canada has a very strict certification process for companies that deal in hazardous materials, requiring operators to review and update their procedures on a regular basis. He said he considers such facilities safe and that such fuels are used successfully in the majority of North American homes.

He said it will likely take time to find out what happened north of Montreal.

Cossette said several other organizations are also investigating the fire and explosion, including the coroner’s office, state workplace health and safety boards, and the Canadian Transportation Safety Board.

canadian press