UPDATE: Police: Too soon to say cause of seniors' home fire

Reports blaze was sparked by cigarette


A burning cigarette is just one of the possible causes of the deadly blaze in a seniors' home in L'Isle-Verte, Quebec

There were media reports Friday that a smoker at home caused the fire, which killed eight people and has left another 24 presumed dead.

"What's been said is one hypothesis among many,'' Quebec provincial police Lt. Guy Lapointe said Saturday.

"When you conduct an investigation of this magnitude, you have to determine all the facts and not simply just one or two in order to achieve a conclusion." "For us, there are still many hypotheses on the table."

Late Saturday afternoon, police said they had confirmed the deaths of two more people, bringing the death toll to 10. 22 people remain unaccounted for.

But Lapointe isn't holding out much hope for those whose remains have not yet been found.

"I think we can assume the worst," he said. "But we're not going to confirm any deaths until we've actually recovered the remains."

Frigid temperatures continued to complicate the search, with ice in certain places was as thick as 60 cm.

"So you can imagine how difficult it is to go through the ice, melt it, and do it in a way that we preserve the integrity of potential victims," Lapointe said. "So it's very difficult work again today. It's very cold."

To speed up things up, equipment that pushes out very hot air and is normally used to de-ice ships has been brought in.

By Saturday afternoon, the Red Cross had raised $200,000 for the victims of the fire.

A mass is scheduled at the church in L'Isle-Verte Sunday afternoon.

Priest Gilles Frigon described it as an event where residents can gather and share their grief. He has invited loved ones to bring photos of the deceased and the missing.

The mass will be a simple one, with Frigon saying he wants to give first responders the opportunity to express their suffering.

"It will be family-oriented and intimate, so that in this tragic event we're going through, we can find ourselves and rebuild our hearts," Frigon said.

"It will be about the grief of people who are affected by the loss of their father, their mother, their grandfather, their grandmother, their great-grandfather and their great-grandmother."

Quebec Premier Pauline Marois has said she will visit L'Isle-Verte on Sunday, but it's unclear whether she will attend the mass.

A more official commemorative ceremony featuring dignitaries has been set for Saturday, February 1st.

Leave a comment:

· Subscribe to comments
Log in and be the first to comment!

Sign Up For Breaking News Alerts

Becoming a member only takes 60 seconds! Members get access to exclusive information and products that non-members do not, including concert ticket presales, trips, advance notice on upcoming entertainment events, movie screening passes, music giveaways and more!

Login with Facebook

Top Stories

Today's Poll

Now that Christine Elliott has both Rob and Doug Ford's support, do you think she has a better chance of becoming the next PC leader?

Voting is restricted to one vote every 24 hour(s) VoteResults


Stay connected 24/7! Receive breaking news and programming alerts right to your inbox. CLICK HERE to sign-up.