Witnesses said the fire spread very quickly. The Sûreté du Québec and the rescue service were on site during the operation. However, he does not appear to be injured.
“I saw smoke near the building and then called 911. From what I saw, the fire started outside and then spread very quickly,” a witness said.
La Tuque fire chief André Vézina said around 7pm that the priority was to get the flames under control, which were threatening adjacent buildings.
“Our teams are currently focused on managing and controlling the blaze, however there is talk of a conflagration. Our investigative teams will also try to determine the cause of the fire, but for now it is imperative that we get the fire under control,” he said live at the scene.
Mr Vézina could not confirm whether the fire actually started outside the building. At the end of Friday evening it was not possible to reach him to find out about developments.
Kate Parent, director of the cooperative, took the news with difficulty. “We had dreamed of giving the cooperative access to such premises for years. We only managed to acquire it four years ago. It’s really like all our efforts went up in smoke…” she said with a lot of emotion in her voice.
According to Ms. Parent, many people will be directly or indirectly affected by this event.