Company creates fund for plant explosion victims
A fund is being set up for the families of the three people who died and 18 other employees injured in a fiery explosion at a plant in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, the company announced Monday.
The fund will pay for psychological help and offer financial assistance, but the exact amount of money that will be available was not announced by officials of Neptune Technologies & Bioressources at a news conference in Sherbrooke.
“There’s no words to express how sad we’re feeling,” said Henri Harland, the company founder, president and CEO.
Marc Couture, 42, who had suffered burns to 90 per cent of his body in the massive blast last Thursday, died in a Montreal hospital on Saturday evening. He’d worked as an operator at the plant for six months, said Harland.
Two other employees were found dead in the plant, which produced health products for marine life. One worker had been with the company four years, the other only three months, company officials said.
Couture’s family reportedly said he sacrificed himself to save other workers. Harland, who said he didn’t know Couture personally, said he didn’t have any information to elaborate on what the family had said.
“There’s a lot of speculation, there’s a lot of reports, personal reports,” he said.
“I think we should let the experts do their job and we’ll see to the reports.”
The cause of the blast remains unknown.
The provincial workplace-safety board has launched a probe and employees are co-operating fully, Harland said.
The structure of the building is still under evaluation by engineers and it could be days or weeks before an analysis is ready. The company will rebuild the plant although Harland couldn’t say when.
The explosion was one of two that happened hours apart in the same region.
An employee who was injured in an explosion early Friday morning at the Bombardier Recreational Products plant in Valcourt, Que., has died of his injuries, it was announced Monday.
A father of two, Sebastien Tardif, 38, operated a dynamometer, which measures torque at the research facility. A 54-year-old security guard remains in intensive care in the burn unit of Quebec City's Enfant-Jesus hospital.
The company said in a statement that its thoughts are with Tardif's family and friends and it has offered support to the family and Tardif's fellow employees.
The BRP plant makes Ski-Doo snowmobiles, Sea-Doo jet skis and Can-Am all-terrain vehicles.
With files from The Canadian Press