World World Now

Five killed in Quebec seniors home fire; death toll expected to rise

A fire that swept through a home for seniors in the Quebec town of L'Isle-Verte likely took the lives of many of the 30 frail and elderly residents now listed as missing, authorities in the Canadian province said Friday.

Five of the 52 people registered as living at the Residence du Havre were confirmed dead after the Thursday blaze, and 20 were reported to have been brought out to safety. Ice that now encrusts the doused fire scene has hampered the search for the missing, Quebec provincial police Lt. Guy Lapointe told CBC News.

Firefighters were using jets of steam to melt the ice blocking entrance to the original part of the structure built in 1997, which wasn't equipped with a sprinkler system, the Toronto Star reported. The other half of the seniors center, constructed in 2002, was protected by sprinklers and was nearly untouched by the fire, the newspaper said.

Quebec Minister of Social Services Veronique Hivon told the Associated Press that many of the volunteer firefighters who responded to the blaze in the town of 1,500 had relatives in the residence.

Most of the residents were in their 80s, and many were confined to wheelchairs or reliant on walkers, which may have prevented them from making a timely exit from the building.

L'Isle-Verte Fire Chief Yvan Charron told journalists that the fire crews were at the scene within eight minutes of receiving the first call for help around 12:30 a.m. Thursday. But 4-below-zero weather caused some equipment to freeze, slowing the firefighters' ability to extinguish the blaze, Charron said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, officials said.

Twitter: @cjwilliamslat

carol.williams@latimes.com

 

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Five dead, 40 missing in Quebec train derailment, blasts
    Five dead, 40 missing in Quebec train derailment, blasts

    LAC-MEGANTIC, Canada — As firefighters doused still-burning oil tanker cars, more bodies were recovered Sunday in this devastated town in eastern Quebec, raising the death toll to five after a runaway train derailed, igniting explosions and fires that destroyed the downtown district.

  • Egypt: 13 killed in clashes between Islamists, police
    Egypt: 13 killed in clashes between Islamists, police

    Supporters of Egypt's ousted Islamist President fought street battles with police in Cairo and other cities on Sunday, the fourth anniversary of country's 2011 uprising, as clashes left 13 people dead and dozens injured. Another two people died when an explosive device they were planting...

  • Female terrorists finding their place in Islamic militants' ranks
    Female terrorists finding their place in Islamic militants' ranks

    From bikini-clad beachgoer to veiled jihadist fugitive, the partner of Paris gunman Amedy Coulibaly underwent a startling metamorphosis that illuminates the dangerous potential behind militant groups' efforts to increase their recruiting of female terrorists.

  • Qatar's ties to militants complicate relations with U.S., neighbors
    Qatar's ties to militants complicate relations with U.S., neighbors

    Even in a part of the world where tangled alliances are as common as sweet tea, one would be hard-pressed to find a country where the same few sweltering square miles house the sprawling operations hub for a huge U.S.-led air war and provide plush sanctuary to the likes of the Taliban and...

  • Obama's India trip yields 'breakthrough' on nuclear power
    Obama's India trip yields 'breakthrough' on nuclear power

    Opening a three-day visit to New Delhi, President Obama on Sunday announced “a breakthrough understanding” that could clear the way for U.S. companies to build nuclear power plants in India in a sign of a quickening thaw between the two historically frosty democracies.

  • Anti-bailout party is the favorite as Greeks cast critical vote
    Anti-bailout party is the favorite as Greeks cast critical vote

    Greeks were voting Sunday in an early general election that could alter the course of the country's struggle with crippling debts, with a radical left party poised to win by promising to rewrite the terms of its international bailout.

Comments
Loading