The aftermath of the blaze as seen from a police helicopter. (Pic: Sureté du Québec/Facebook)
THREE PEOPLE HAVE died and 30 people are missing more than twelve hours after a fire at a home for the elderly in Canada.
Police in Quebec have confirmed that the huge fire broke out at around 12.30am (5.30am GMT) at the large complex at L’Isle Verte, a small town in eastern Quebec.
Between 50 and 60 people were living at the Résidence du Havre, which is made up of residential units, a chapel and a pharmacy for residents.
Résidence du Havre before the fire. (Pic: residenceduhavre.com)
The fire was brought under control but the building has been completely destroyed. Bad weather conditions, including a strong wind which fanned the flames, made it more difficult for firefighters to tackle the blaze.
The town’s acting mayor told a news conference that most of the people living in the home were reliant on carers.
Ginette Caron said the residents included people who needed “100 per cent care, almost all in wheelchairs, using walkers, or who aren’t mobile at all, people suffering from the late stages of Alzheimers,” she said.
Authorities said up to nine people were treated at nearby hospitals for their injuries.
A police spokesperson said that while 30 people are still missing, it does not mean that they are dead. Ann Mathiew of Quebec Provincial Police said that several of the residents may have been visiting family or may have taken refuge during the fire and missed being counted, she said.
Nonetheless, “it’s a tragedy for the community and we can only fear that the death toll will rise,” Gaetan Lelievre, a local politician told French-language public broadcaster Radio Canada.
L’Isle Verte is a small town with a population of just under 1,500. Several homes in the area were evacuated as a result of the fire.
(Image: Google Maps)
Originally published 1.20pm
Additional reporting by AFP