Quebec Senior Home Fire Kills 10, Dozens Still Missing

Emergency crews identified two of the 10 victims Saturday. Dozens are still missing and feared dead.
Posted at 10:26 PM, Jan 25, 2014

Emergency crews continued their search Saturday for missing seniors following a devastating fire at a Quebec senior home Thursday. 

Although police confirmed the IDs of two of 10 victims confirmed dead, as many as 24 other residents of the L'Isle-Verte senior home are still missing with little hope they've survived. (Via Global News

"The seniors home now entombed in ice was consumed by flames early Thursday morning. The seniors, neighbors said, could be heard screaming in terror from their balconies." (Via CNN)

CBC reports emergency crews have braved temperatures below -20 C, or -4 F, to work through the ruins, but the conditions make it difficult to investigate the cause of the fire and find the bodies of those missing. 

"A police officer this morning telling us that they're dealing with two feet of ice, so the bodies are essentially encased in ice and they have to steam it slow." (Via CTV)

That steaming process is how investigators hope to melt the ice while also preserving the integrity of the victims' bodies. Meanwhile, Quebec officials continue to look into the cause of the fire. 

The Toronto Sun spoke to the only overnight worker on duty before the fire who said a lit cigarette might've set the senior-living home ablaze. The man told the paper he stopped an elderly resident from going outside to smoke late Wednesday night. He claims when the fire first started, he saw it centered around the elderly smokers room.

At least 52 people were believed to be living at the senior home at the time of the fire, and Saturday yielded some good news for the survivors. 

The Canadian Red Cross announced it raised $200,000 "to meet the urgent needs of those affected, such as clothing, hearing aids, dentures and mobility aids. The program also covers special furniture and safety equipment, household items and pharmaceuticals." (Via Canadian Red Cross)

An informal memorial service honoring the victims of the fire will be held Sunday.