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Ontario Food Plant Fire Prompts State of Emergency, Evacuations

By Amanda Brodhagen,

The town of Tecumseh, east of Windsor, Ont., is under a partial state of emergency after a massive fire broke out overnight, due to a small ammonia leak detected at the Bonduelle vegetable processing plant.

Fire officials issued an evacuation order for residents living in close proximity to the plant - homes that are within 1.5 kilometers of the facility, affecting approximately 1,300 homes. Those who live outside the evacuation zone are being asked to stay inside, with their house windows closed to prevent any possible smoke irritants that might be in the air from the fire. Parks and swimming pools in the area remain closed.

A “Red Alert” was issued by Emergency Management Ontario, which warned citizens that the fire is still burning and that hazardous materials are involved. The fire is under control, but firefighters remain onsite. There are no immediate reports of injuries from the blaze.

Residents that received a reverse 911 call are urged to leave their homes and businesses. People evacuating with their pets and need help are asked to call the Windsor/Essex County Humane Society at 519-966-5751. The Essex County Emergency Management Twitter account has been tweeting important updates about the fire at @CofEssexPrepare.

Bonduelle North America, which owns the plant, is Canada’s leading processor of canned and frozen vegetables. The plant employees nearly 150-full-time staff and produce about 30,000 tons of frozen foods and 20,000 tons of canned foods each year. According to the company’s website, it has seven processing plants in Canada, including three in Ontario and four in Quebec.

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