Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

5 dead, 30 missing in Quebec seniors' home fire

L'ISLE-VERTE, Quebec — A fire raged through a seniors' home in eastern Quebec on Thursday, trapping residents dependent on wheelchairs and walkers. Five died, about 30 were missing and Canada's prime minister said there is little doubt the death toll will be high.

Officials said firefighters saw and heard people in the building that they were unable to save.

Many of those unaccounted for were confined to wheelchairs and walkers and only five residents in the center were fully autonomous, said Ginette Caron, acting mayor of the small town of L'Isle-Verte, about 140 miles northeast of Quebec City. She said some had Alzheimer's disease.

The massive fire in the three-story building broke out about 12:30 a.m. and raged through the night. Firefighters arrived within eight minutes of getting the alarm and several fire departments in the region were called in to help. But they were unable to carry out a complete evacuation because of the intensity of the fire. About 20 of the more than 50 residents were transported to safety.

Pascal Fillion, who lives near the seniors' home, said he ran outside to find a group of locals and firefighters already at the scene, trying everything to save the panicked people inside.

For the most part, he said, rescuers felt helpless against a fast-moving blaze with smoke so thick it was nearly impossible to approach the building.

"People tried to do whatever they could, but the fire was so intense that there wasn't much that could be done," he said. "I saw people crying, I saw people collapse because they were watching those people burn."

The fire broke out in minus-4 F temperatures, causing equipment to freeze, fire chief Yvan Charron said.

As morning dawned and the fire was brought under control, the burned section of the facility resembled a macabre ice palace, with sheets of ice and thick icicles covering the structure.

The search for the missing was still hampered Thursday evening by the cold and thick ice and the fact that the building had collapsed, said Quebec Provincial police Lt. Guy Lapointe. Lapointe said late Thursday that the search for those missing would regroup at daylight.

The search for about 30 missing residents after a fire in a seniors’ home will continue at daylight today, an official said.

Associated Press

The search for about 30 missing residents after a fire in a seniors’ home will continue at daylight today, an official said.

5 dead, 30 missing in Quebec seniors' home fire 01/23/14 [Last modified: Thursday, January 23, 2014 9:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Kremlin dismisses U.S. warning of chemical attack in Syria (w/video)

    World

    .1103< AP-EU-Russia-Syria,252

    Eds: Rewrites top.

    MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin on Tuesday dismissed the White House's warning that the Syrian government is preparing a new chemical attack and that President Bashar Assad and his military "will pay a heavy price" if it goes ahead.

    In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, third right, prays on the first day of Eid al-Fitr, that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, at the Nouri Mosque in Hama, Syria, Sunday, June 25, 2017. [SANA via AP]
  2. EU announces record $2.7 billion antitrust fine on Google over search results

    Business

    BRUSSELS — The European Union's antitrust chief announced a record $2.7 billion fine against Google on Tuesday, saying that the powerful company illegally steered users toward its comparison shopping website.

    The European Union's competition watchdog has slapped a record 2.42 billion euro ($2.72 billion) fine on internet giant Google for breaching antitrust rules with its online shopping service. [Associated Press file photo]
  3. Forecast: Muggy, warm conditions across Tampa Bay as afternoon storms stay mostly east of I-75

    Weather

    A muggy and slightly wet day is in on tap for Tampa Bay as most of the rain sticks east of Interstate 75 in the afternoon.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  4. Trigaux: No more VinikVille as Water Street Tampa finally arrives

    Business

    Adios, VinikVille! Hello Water Street Tampa.

    An aerial rendering of the $3 billion redevelopment project that Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners plan on 50-plus acres around Amalie Arena.&#13;[Rendering courtesy of Strategic Property Partners]&#13;
  5. Finally, Jeff Vinik's vision has a name: Water Street Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — For years, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and the real estate executives he employs have been dreaming how to transform 53 acres of downtown Tampa into a major hub of living, working and entertaining in the city's core.

    Strategic Property Partners announced the name of its new development: Water Street Tampa. This rendering shows the Tampa skyline with SPP's future buildings in place. [Photos courtesy of SPP]