The East Seafood Factory in Matane, Quebec, has been engulfed in flames, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. The factory had been shut down for 10 days prior to the fire, with no employees present at the time of the incident. Firefighters from Matane and the MRC de la Matanie have been working tirelessly to battle the blaze and prevent it from spreading further.

The presence of ammonia in the building has added a dangerous element to the situation, prompting the evacuation of a residential area located 2 km west of the factory. The toxic gas, used for refrigeration purposes, could pose a serious threat to the surrounding population if ignited by the flames.

The cause of the fire remains unknown, as the factory had been inactive since its closure announcement on March 18th. The closure, attributed to challenging conditions in the fishing industry and a shortage of foreign workers, had already resulted in the loss of over 200 jobs, both local and temporary.

As the authorities continue to assess the extent of the damage, concerns about the future of the factory and its valuable equipment have been raised. The President of the Board of Directors, Jean-Pierre Chamberland, has expressed his worries about the potential loss of millions of dollars worth of machinery and the urgent need to find a new owner for the facility.

The community of Matane is reeling from the tragic event, which has dealt a heavy blow to a longstanding maritime tradition and left many residents in shock. Mayor Eddy Métivier has been on site overseeing the evacuation efforts and supporting those affected by the disaster.

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