Fire destroys Quebec auto parts plant

© 2005 Chad Burr

Posted 10.20.05

SAINT-EPHREM, QC | Investigators continue today to investigate a multi-million dollar blaze that destroyed an auto parts manufacturer here on Wednesday, October 19, that put 150 people out of work.

No one was injured in the fire, authorities say, and the cause of the blaze has not yet been determined.

At 7:15 a.m. you could see a dark cloud of smoke from at least 16 km away as the fibreglass manufacturing plant of René Matériaux Composites was engulfed in flames.

Some 80 fireman from Saint-éphrem, Saint-évariste, La Guadeloupe, Sainte-Clotilde and Saint-Victor fought the fire. Tanker trucks and cement mixers were used to transport water to the portable pools and heavy machinery was used to tear down the façade and expose hidden embers in the walls.

Mayor Luc Lemieux had the 250 students at the nearby Curé Beaudet school evacuated.

Authorities have urged the 2700 residents are advised to keep their windows closed and not to drink tap water until further environmental tests can determine the impact the fire may have posed on the water supply.

René Composite Materials Ltd. was launched in 1977, by two brothers, Norbert and René Grenier. The company is said to be among the leaders in the manufacturing of truck body parts for the Class 8 truck industry.

Copyright © 2005 Karen Eryou/Log Cabin Chronicles/10.05