L’ISLE-VERTE, Que. — Firefighters and police officers, some on their hands and knees, braved bitter cold for yet another day to find more bodies in the rubble of a seniors’ home that was engulfed in flames last week.
Quebec provincial police said Tuesday that 17 people are now confirmed dead and 15 remain missing after the blaze that ravaged Residence du Havre in L’Isle-Verte in eastern Quebec early last Thursday.
“We will keep going until all 32 people have been found,” said Quebec provincial police Lt. Michel Brunet.
Four people have been formally identified by the coroner’s office.
Authorities say they are satisfied with the progress of their work during the last six days.
Weather has been a major hurdle, forcing crews to take regular breaks to warm up from the bone-chilling cold.
Special machines also had to be brought in to melt thick ice that coated the ruins after the fire. Police have had to approach the rubble carefully, not just to avoid harming any bodies within the structure but also to preserve evidence that may allow investigators to determine a cause for the blaze.