Death toll 14 in Canada senior home tragedy

2014-01-28 11:28
The burnt remains of a retirement home in L'Isle-Verte. (Remi Senechal, AFP)

The burnt remains of a retirement home in L'Isle-Verte. (Remi Senechal, AFP)

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L'Isle-Verte - Fourteen people are now confirmed dead in a fire which ripped through a seniors' residence in eastern Canada, up from 10, police say.

A further 18 are still missing, and are presumed dead. The fire happened on Thursday in the small community of L'Isle-Verte, Quebec, located on the St Lawrence River northeast of Quebec City.

Workers spent their fifth day in sub-freezing temperatures probing through ice and rubble for bodies.

A blizzard on Sunday brought to a halt for three hours the grim work of recovery and investigation at the home.

The charred wreckage is encased in thick ice from the water used to douse the flames and workers were using technology normally used to de-ice ships in order to preserve the integrity of the dead and the evidence in the investigation.

Recovery crews on Monday found four more bodies at the residences despite biting winds and blowing snow. Temperatures hovered around -11°C, but winds made if feel like -22°C.

Quebec health minister Rejean Hebert arrived in L'Isle-Verte on Monday to show his support for the survivors, their families and the first responders who've been working almost non-stop since Thursday.

"I am moved and overwhelmed by this catastrophe, which is making me relive the tragedy of Lac-Megantic", Hebert told reporters, referring to last July's deadly train derailment that killed 47 people in the town of Lac-Megantic.

"These are extremely painful times and I want to underline my sympathy for all the victims and their families. All of Quebec is in mourning."

Read more on:    canada  |  weather

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