Quebec House Explodes : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


Thursday, May. 11, 2000

House explodes in Quebec

BOUCHERVILLE, Que. (CP) -- An explosion that was felt for several blocks flattened a house and killed one man late Tuesday.

Three other men were seriously burned, said Const. Jean-Pierre Gignac of the Boucherville police.

The cause of the explosion, which happened shortly after 10 p.m., was not immediately known. Provincial police were called in to investigate.

Neighbours in the community near Montreal pitched in to rescue the trapped people moments after the explosion.

"I felt the pressure (of the blast)" said Francis Haman, who was returning from a convenience store and was one of the first people on the scene.

"I heard a loud "boom" and when I turned I saw a big blue flame," Haman told RDI, the all-news channel of the CBC's French network.

As he jumped from his car, Haman saw debris scattered all over the road and he called for his father to alert police, whose switchboard was already swamped with calls.

One injured man had stumbled from the building yelling for help and saying that there were others still inside.

Efforts were made to help and other people were pulled from the ruins before intense flames drove rescuers back.

"People were screaming," Haman told RDI, saying the victims were men in their 30s.

Haman, a neigbour, said the people in the destroyed house had lived there about three months.

The injured were laid on a nearby lawn where rescue workers and neighbours tried to help them as firefighters hosed down the remains of the building.

It took about 90 minutes to get the blaze under control.

The one-storey house, which stood in the middle of a residential, tree-lined neighbourhood, was flattened.

A wall of flame blazed over the ruins, which stood between two other houses. They sustained damage as well, including scorched sides. One person in a house across the street suffered minor cuts from flying glass from a broken window.

Debris littered the street, which was jammed with emergency vehicles.

People in the immediate area were evacuated briefly as a precaution.

-- Rachel Gibson (, May 11, 2000

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