No Harmful Effects Expected From Chemical Fire

Those who were forced to leave their homes after an\r\nexplosion at a chemical plant in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec, were told that the fire would have no long-term effects.

More than 5,000 people were forced to leave their homes after an explosion at a chemical plant in Montreal, Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec.

The residents were told Monday that the fire would have no long-term effects

Residents complained of burning eyes and itchy skin after fire sent a thick blanket of smoke billowing from the Regent Chemical Products plant, west of Montreal, on Sunday night.

"These are very short-term effects and they do not pose real danger for these people," said Dr. Louis Jacques, a public heath official. "People can come back home with confidence."

Jacques said "there''s no way" local drinking water is contaminated. Environment Quebec said there would be no serious ecological damage.

The blaze, which was visible from several kilometers away, erupted at the acid-transformation plant believed to contain up to 50,000 liters of toxic materials, including sulfuric, nitric and hydrochloric acid.

Provincial police were investigating but the cause of the fire wasn''t yet known.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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