POLITICS
03/01/2013 01:56 EST | Updated 05/01/2013 05:12 EDT

Motel-bar site explodes in central Quebec; no fatalities reported

TROIS-RIVIERES, Que. - A motel-bar complex became a flattened pile of burning debris after an explosion ripped through it Friday.

Some passersby reported hearing two blasts.

Smoke swirled up in an enormous cloud from the debris of the Motel Le Havre, which was joined in the complex by the adjacent Turco bar, as firefighters moved in to attack the blaze.

Michel Letarte, a spokesman for the Trois-Rivieres fire department, said firefighters were limited to a defensive role because of the devastation, spraying water to control the flames and making sure they didn't spread.

Bricks and lumber littered the site.

Ambulances raced to the scene but there were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries. Officials were meeting with the owner of the motel to see if there had been any staff or guests present and firefighters picked through the debris after the fire was brought under control.

The site is next to a quiet rural road and a perimeter was set up around the area.

The establishment made news last year, when police arrested nine people in a series of drug raids. Two of the motel rooms were among the raid sites.