Eight people were rushed to hospital following a fiery explosion at a wood-manufacturing plant in Beauceville, Que., on Monday morning.
Those who were injured, some with severe burns, were taken to nearby Saint-Georges Hospital.
Six people suffered injuries so serious that they had to be intubated and transferred to the trauma unit at the Enfant-Jésus Hospital in Quebec City for more specialized care.
Police said three of the eight people injured were in critical condition, as of Monday afternoon.
Representatives from the regional health authority, the CISSS de Chaudière-Appalaches, were sent to support the families of those injured.
According to its company's website, the factory specializes in the drying and processing of "jointed and laminated wood into door and window components."
Police were called to the site of the incident at 134th Street around 7:30 a.m. Monday.
The Sûreté du Québec are investigating to establish the cause and circumstances of the fire. Repairs were being done on the building but it is too early to say whether that led to the explosion, said SQ spokesperson Hélène St-Pierre.
St-Pierre said the SQ's major crimes unit is also looking at whether the explosion was criminal.
Firefighters were also at the scene Monday morning, dousing water on the nearby laundry services building to protect it. The company handles laundry for health-care institutions in the region.
Mireille Gaudreau, a spokesperson for the CISSS, told CBC News that drinking water in the area could be affected because of all the water the firefighters are using.
Daniel Fortin, who works for the town of Beauceville, also told Radio-Canada that the municipality is asking residents not to use too much water today and is advising anyone who lives near the factory to close their windows due to the smoke.
About 15 residences and three businesses in the area were evacuated as a precaution.
Beauceville is located about 80 kilometres southeast of Quebec City.
With files from Shuyee Lee, Franca Mignacca
Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca