Explosion, fire at abandoned Gatineau factory suspicious, say police
Fire tore through the former Chantecler Windows and Doors factory Saturday night
A number of east Gatineau residents were evacuated from their homes Saturday night after an explosion and a major fire at an abandoned factory.
Flames broke out at around 6 p.m. at the former Chantecler Windows and Doors factory on Rue Desrosiers, the city's fire department told Radio-Canada.
Chief of Operations Stephane Denis said chemicals in the decommissioned plant caught fire, causing the explosion, and that a portion of the building had collapsed.
There were no reports of any injuries, Denis said. Some 55 firefighters were required to quell the blaze.
Gatineau police confirmed Sunday afternoon they had taken over the investigation and have deemed the fire to be suspicious.
The area has been cordoned off.
WATCH: Gatineau police are now considering last night's fire at the abandoned Chantecler factory to be suspicious: <a href="https://t.co/pzx2rF1KP2">https://t.co/pzx2rF1KP2</a> <a href="https://t.co/KEh1tcnB7z">pic.twitter.com/KEh1tcnB7z</a>—@CBCOttawa
'Ominous' smoke cloud
Dale Kerr had just stepped outside of his house when he saw an "ominous" cloud moving quickly across the sky.
Kerr said he and his neighbour quickly decided to take a closer look.
"Within 15 minutes, the whole property had evolved into a pretty serious fire," he said.
"From what it looks like, the firefighters will be [here] overnight just to make sure that it doesn't spread."
Chantecler Doors and Windows ceased operations in 2016 and was dissolved on October 17, 2017, according to the Registraire des entreprises du Québec.
Damage to the building is estimated at more than $1.7 million.