Agnes Fraser’s 82-year-old brother, Claude, was among the missing. She said she knew she would never see him again because he lived in the section of the building destroyed by the flames.
“It’s done,” Fraser said.
Quebec Minister of Social Services Veronique Hivon said many of the village’s volunteer firefighters had relatives at the retirement home. She said psychologists will be knocking on doors throughout the community.
“People are in a state of shock,” she said. “We want them to know the services are there by going door to door. It’s an important building that’s a part of their community that just disappeared.”
Hivon said the home was up to code and had a proper evacuation plan. A Quebec Health Department document indicates the home which has operated since 1997, had only a partial sprinkler system. The home expanded around 2002, and the sprinklers in the new part of the building triggered the alarm.
Roch Bernier and Irene Plante, the owners of the home, said in a statement that they are cooperating with authorities and offered their condolences to the victims’ families.
Quebec Premier Pauline Marois, in Switzerland this week for a world economic summit, said she will cut her trip short by 24 hours to return home and visit L’Isle-Verte tomorrow, when a religious service is planned in the village.
The fire came six months after 47 people were killed in the small town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, when a train carrying oil derailed and exploded.
In 1969, a nursing home fire in the community of Notre-Dame-du-Lac, Quebec, claimed 54 lives.