Firefighters in Trois-Rivières, Que., are fighting a fire that broke out on Wednesday afternoon in the city’s Somavrac factory which contains sodium hydrosulfite.
The fire broke out around 2:10 p.m. in “several containers” of the factory, according to the City of Trois-Rivières. The fire involved 3,600 kilos of the product, said the Ministry of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change on Wednesday evening.
Emergency-Environment teams were deployed to the scene as well as specialists to test the area’s air quality.
Residents located within a 800 meters radius of the factory have been asked to confine themselves until further notice as authorities fear air contamination.
The city said residents have been asked to close doors and windows, plug ventilation holes and stop all ventilation.
Police have evacuated all shops and businesses located nearby and authorities have asked everyone to avoid any travel in the surrounding area.
The plant specializes in the storage, handling, processing, transport and distribution of chemicals for various industries, according to the Somavrac website.
According to officials, sodium hydrosulphite is a self-heating material which can ignite. In contact with water it releases toxic gases if inhaled.
–With files from Global News’ Alessia Maratta