Senior’s home goes up in flames

Senior’s home goes up in flames

The town of L’isle Verte, 2 hours east of Quebec City, is wondering today how a senior’s home managed to catch fire and burn almost completely to the ground in an overnight fire which appears for the moment to have taken the lives of approximately 30 residents.

Firemen bravely fought the blaze, but sub-zero temperatures caused hoses and equipment to freeze up even before the water could be sprayed on the burning building. The outside temperature at the time was -22 degrees celcius.

The home had 52 rooms and was built in 1997, with an addition added in 2002. The section that was destroyed was the original structure and there are questions if that particular wing had a sprinkler system installed and working. In a press conference held by the authorities 12 hours after the blaze several questions about safety and emergency procedures in old age homes were put to the Minister of Social Solidarity, Agnes Maltais, but it was too early to respond factually stating that an inquiry would be conducted to find the answers.

Most of the residents were elders over the age of 80 and the majority amongst them were suffering from various physical and or mental incapacities which would have made evacuating the building in a hurry and in the middle of the night a major task. So far 5 bodies have been recovered with 24 other tenants still unaccounted for. The search for the bodies will be difficult as the debris is frozen solid from water dispersed on the flames. Several injured were taken to the closest hospital in Rivière du Loup.

“La Residence du Havre” is a total loss and the whole town of 1,500 people is affected in some way or another as almost everyone knows each other and most likely knew one or more of the residents in the home.

An inquiry will be conducted and some building restrictions regarding safety measures and fire prevention for these types of dwellings will be a priority for the Government according to Minister Maltais.

The Premier and the Prime Minister are both out of the country, but offered their condolences through the media.
………………………………………………………. Staff Writer

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