CORNWALL, Ontario – An explosion at a massive fireworks warehouse just east of the city has claimed at least two lives, and could spark a shortage of pyrotechnics for Canada Day festivities.
The explosion at B.E.M. Fireworks, located in Coteau du Lac, near Valleyfield, Que., occurred just before 9 a.m. Thursday and witnesses at the scene suggested the building near Highway 20 has been completely destroyed.
Officials later confirmed two were killed.
MP Guy Lauzon, a member of the Cornwall Canada Day committee, told Seaway News he is waiting for word on whether the fireworks slated for use in the Seaway City have been lost.
But his first concern was for the lives lost.
“That’s just terrible news,” he said.
Cornwall and other area communities, including Alexandria, purchase their fireworks from B.E.M.
“There might be a lot of Canada Day (events) affected by this,” said Lauzon.
It could take a few days before details can be sorted out, he added, suggesting B.E.M. is known to have fireworks storage facilities in other areas.
Traffic on Highway 401 east of the city was lined up as part of Highway 20 near the site of the explosion was closed to traffic.
Highway 401 becomes Highway 20 at the provincial border.
Motorists heading into Quebec from the Cornwall area are urged to find alternate routes.
Police evacuated homes within a one kilometre radius surrounding the smouldering warehouse.