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Crucial piece of equipment arrives at scene of seniors’ home ravaged by fire

An emergency worker digs through the remains of the senior residence Residence du Havre in L'Isle Verte, Quebec, January 25, 2014.


Police and firefighters in L'Isle-Verte will begin using a crucial piece of equipment delivered to the Lower St. Lawrence town from the Saguenay region in Quebec Saturday night. Typically used for de-icing large vessels, the machine that sends out a massive amount of water vapour in order to melt large amounts of ice will be used to rid what's left of Résidence du havre of the 60 centimetres of ice it is coated in.

Saturday, Sûreté du Québec officials uncovered two more bodies, rising the Isle-Verte disaster's death count to 10 and have identified two as Juliette Saindon, 95, and Marie-Laureat Dube, 82. The Quebec coroner's office also identified another victim, who's name it is still too early to reveal.

"We've divided the area into two groups: one will be covered by a large tarp overnight and will hopefully be de-iced by the morning," said Sûreté du Québec Lieut. Michel Brunet. The other area will be treated by the machine Sunday morning as officials pursue their investigation in a softer terrain. The large amounts of ice caused by the water used by firefighters to extinguish the blaze Thursday and Friday freezing. That, and the frigid temperatures made investigations especially tough in maintaining the scene's integrity while weeding through charred rubble and Brunet and Quebec coroner's office spokesperson Geneviève Guilbault reiterated multiple times the importance of keeping the scene and the bodies it probably contains intact in leading their investigation.

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"We're taking our time, but our efforts on the scene will not decrease," said Brunet.

The SQ maintains that no hypothesis on what sparked the blaze has more importance than another, despite allegations of a man smoking a cigarette in his room by employee Bruno Bélanger, who had told him not to at the time. "We still have very many pieces of information to go through."

L'Isle-Verte's mayor Ursule Thériault helped reintegrate evacuees into their homes Saturday along Sûreté du Québec officers and firefighters "with bodies of steel and hearts of gold," for whom the mayor has a great amount of praise. "I don't want to be a chauvinist, but I think L'Isle-Verte has the best team of firefighters [around]."

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