La Salle, QB Chemical Plant Explosion, Oct 1966


Montreal (CP) -- Ten bodies were recovered Thursday night and today from an explosion-torn chemical plant in suburban La Salle where a severe blast set off a spectacular fire.
One man was believed still missing. Ten persons were injured but most were released from hospital after treatment.
The fire continued to smoulder today, more than 12 hours after the initial blast, heard over most of the western end of Montreal Islands, and subsequent less severe blasts.
All but one of the injured were released from hospital in LaSalle after treatment. The 10th man was transferred to Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital.
"The cause of the explosion will not be known for several days, maybe weeks," said KEN MOLYNEAUS, director of personnel at the plant. "It will have to be looked into by a team of thoroughly trained investigators."
The explosion, which broke windows more than a mile from the scene, occurred in a group of tanks containing chemicals believed used in the manufacture of plastics.
The community, on Montreal's southwest outskirts, was the site of an explosion 18 months agao when an apartment building blew up, killing 28 persons.
The fire was believed to have started near a loading ramp in a section of the plant reserved for polystyrene. The railway cars nearby contained more polystyrene and alcohol.
None exploded but one tanker car was knocked on its side by the blast.
After the initial explosion, more than 10 minor blasts occurred.
GERARD DEMAIS, 25, and DON NEIL, 26, escaped the explosion with nothing more than a bad case of the shakes.
"I lost my hat and keys but I got out alive," said GABRIEL PIGEON, 43, a security guard.
"I was washing my hands after finishing my rounds," said MR. PIGEON. "It was about 10:15 when boom .... I was thrown back from the basin. But I wasn't hurt. I got out of there in a hurry.

Winnipeg Free Press Manitoba 1966-10-15