22 seniors missing in Quebec nursing home fire feared dead - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

22 seniors missing in Quebec nursing home fire feared dead

By Susanna Capelouto and Ralph Ellis, CNN

(CNN) -- As search crews worked their way through an ice-coated scene, authorities said Saturday that 10 people had died and 22 were unaccounted for in the blaze that destroyed an elderly community in Quebec.

People grieved deeply in the town of L'Isle-Verten, about 240 kilometers, or 150 miles, northeast of Quebec City. Authorities brought in counselors for the 1,500 residents and a special Mass is planned Sunday for survivors, relatives and residents.

Quebec provincial police Lt. Guy Lapointe said it's unlikely any of the missing escaped the Thursday fire.

"I think we can assume the worst, but you have to understand that we're not going to confirm any deaths until we have actually recovered the remains," he said.

Search teams continued to comb debris for the missing at the Residence du Havre in L'Isle-Verten.

Frigid temperatures have made search efforts difficult, as water used to fight the blaze froze, coating the collapsed three-story building in ice.

"The ice in certain areas is as thick as 60 centimeters. We're talking 2 feet," Lapointe said. "So you can imaging how difficult it is to go through the ice, melt it and again do it in a way that we protect the integrity of the potential victims."

CBC, a CNN network partner, reported that crews are using a machine that produces vapor to melt the ice. The machine normally is used to remove ice from boats.

The cause of the fire that began early Thursday morning at the complex, where at least 52 people were believed to be living, is still under investigation. A lit cigarette is one of many possibilities authorities are looking into, officials said.

At least 37 were older than 85, according to government documents obtained by CBC.

Authorities have brought in more than a dozen psychologists and social workers to counsel the town's 1,500 residents, CBC reported.

"Often, the elderly feel they will bother you if they ask for something, but they don't bother anyone. We have really to repeat the message that we are there for them, to give them all the help necessary," Véronique Hivon, Quebec's junior health and social services minister, said during a news conference.

Father Gilles Frigon, the priest at St-Jean Baptiste de L'Isle-Verte church, plans to lead a special Mass Sunday.

"It's an intimate gathering to help rebuild broken hearts," Frigon told CBC. "It's a first step toward healing, to living our pain and expressing our suffering."

Acting Mayor Ginette Caron told CBC that many of the residents had Alzheimer's disease and used wheelchairs or walkers.

Witnesses said they saw a number of residents calling out to firefighters for help from their windows and balconies.

Pascal Fillion, who lives near the complex, told CTV he heard screams coming from inside, but the fire was so intense there was little firefighters could do.

"There was one person we saw, who they wanted to save, but he was on the top floor, and with the fire and the wind they weren't able to come any closer," he said.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • CPSO hosts gun safety class in Moss Bluff

    CPSO hosts gun safety class in Moss Bluff

    Tuesday, September 19 2017 11:04 PM EDT2017-09-20 03:04:20 GMT
    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
    "If you're going to be a gun owner...you take care of your guns," said Trinity Meche. "You lock them up (and) get them out of the way of your kids."  The message of gun safety came from the father of Gage Meche,  the boy who accidentally shot by another student during school last year. It happened at Moss Bluff Elementary when another kid brought a loaded gun to school in a backpack.  Gage was hit in the stomach and spent weeks recovering from the ...More >>
    "If you're going to be a gun owner...you take care of your guns," said Trinity Meche. "You lock them up (and) get them out of the way of your kids."  The message of gun safety came from the father of Gage Meche,  the boy who accidentally shot by another student during school last year. It happened at Moss Bluff Elementary when another kid brought a loaded gun to school in a backpack.  Gage was hit in the stomach and spent weeks recovering from the ...More >>
  • Police still searching for suspect in fatal hit & run

    Police still searching for suspect in fatal hit & run

    Tuesday, September 19 2017 7:11 PM EDT2017-09-19 23:11:54 GMT
    Police are still looking for a suspect after a cyclist was killed Friday night. When you combine a university of over 7,000 students with one of the busiest roads in Lake Charles accidents are bound to happen. “It's tricky, it's a 4-lane road that runs alongside a university,” said Lt. Richard Harrell. “There's a high volume of foot traffic and motorists that aren't paying attention for various reasons. These things do happen unfortunately.” Harrell says wit...More >>
    Police are still looking for a suspect after a cyclist was killed Friday night. When you combine a university of over 7,000 students with one of the busiest roads in Lake Charles accidents are bound to happen. “It's tricky, it's a 4-lane road that runs alongside a university,” said Lt. Richard Harrell. “There's a high volume of foot traffic and motorists that aren't paying attention for various reasons. These things do happen unfortunately.” Harrell says wit...More >>
  • breaking

    Contraband Days Festival changing its name

    Contraband Days Festival changing its name

    Tuesday, September 19 2017 8:42 PM EDT2017-09-20 00:42:36 GMT
    (Source: Lake Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau)(Source: Lake Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau)

    For 60 years residents and visitors to SWLA have looked forward to the annual Contraband Days Festival but now the festival is changing its name, according to Angie Manning, spokeswoman for the Lake Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau.  The board that has overseen the festival wants to bring a new focus to Louisiana culture and history from the food, music, and artists to the pirates and the rides, Manning said.  The new name of the festival is the Louisiana Pirate...

    More >>

    For 60 years residents and visitors to SWLA have looked forward to the annual Contraband Days Festival but now the festival is changing its name, according to Angie Manning, spokeswoman for the Lake Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau.  The board that has overseen the festival wants to bring a new focus to Louisiana culture and history from the food, music, and artists to the pirates and the rides, Manning said.  The new name of the festival is the Louisiana Pirate...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly