Three Workers in Quebec Die in Explosion

Three employees at a vehicle testing plant in Quebec, Canada were killed Wednesday after a giant tank of compressed air exploded while they were preparing a vehicle for safety tests.

Three employees in Blainville, Quebec, were killed Wednesday after a giant tank of compressed air exploded while they were preparing a vehcile for safety tests.

Two of the men were decapitated in the powerful explosion of the 1,500-kilogram tank at PMG Technologies, said Albert Stringer, Blainville's director of public security.

"There were even bits of the vehicle that reached the ceiling. I haven't seen an accident like this in the 21 years I have been here," said Stringer.

The men were engineers and technical assistants who worked at the plant, which tests vehicles to comply with federal safety standards.

Officials at a news conference said that the explosion was caused by compressed air.

Three men were in the process of using it when the tank exploded, Stringer said.

Company vice-president Gilles Marleau refused to say what caused the blast or whether a tank exploded.

Marleau said up to eight people were treated for shock at a hospital in nearby St.-Jerome, but Stringer said the number was closer to 20.

The company, which has 50 employees, used to be the site of a Transport Canada facility. The plant has been privately owned since 1996.

Marleau said he did not know whether the company would suspend activities.

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