March 30, 2023

La Ronge Northerner

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Eruption at Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan: Snow complicates research

Officials said during a press conference at noon on Friday that the search to find the missing persons continues to be painful.

snow, It began descending on the region overnight Thursday into Fridaycomplicating operations, so the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), which is in charge of the investigation, plans to set up a marquee on Saturday to protect the scene, Sergeant Éloïse Cossette said.

Police and firefighters working hand-in-hand on the case are expected to remain on site for several more days, the spokesman added.

We may need to clear the snow scene so we can dig up the debris. It is very complex. [Mais] We’re making progress and that’s the important thing. »

A quote Sergeant Eloise Gosset, spokeswoman for the Sûreté du Québec

Quebec Public Safety Minister François Bonnardel was with Sergeant Cosset for the event, who described the scale of the tragedy.immeasurable.

His colleague Caroline Proulx, MP Louis-Charles Thouin and mayor Sébastien Marcil, responsible for the Lanaudière region, also spoke. Moved to the sight, the latter thanked the people for their support. It is very difficult, what is happening nowHe declared.

An unbearable wait for families

Felt for miles around, An explosion occurred Thursday morning at a propane warehouse located at 843 rang de la Rivière Nord in Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan.The municipality of 5,600 inhabitants is located north of Moscow, 50 kilometers from Montreal.

Although names have started circulating, the identities of the missing have not yet been officially released by authorities.

In a statement read to the cameras at noon on Friday, a representative of Propane Lafortune confirmed that two of the company’s employees and a subcontractor were missing. Condolences to the affected families.

The SQ speaks for itselfAt the very least Three are missing. However, Sergeant Gossett admitted at a press conference that police do not currently have any information. Fourth [ou] The fifth victim.

The police said that the relatives of the three persons identified as missing met and got to know the situation. SQ Friday. They were given psychological help. We know it’s not easySergeant Gossett said.

Reason to be determined

Fifty firefighters from the area were brought under control early in the morning.

The intervention was complicated by the presence of hazardous materials such as oil and propane gas, which prevented emergency services from providing assistance to those trapped in the wreckage. Director of Fire Protection Service explained MRC de Montcalm, Francois Thivierge, to All in one morning.

The firefighters did what they could.

Everything that could be done was tried, and this sense of duty lessened, comforting the teams. Everyone goes home thinking that the maximum is over. »

A quote François Thivierge, Director of the Fire Protection Service of the MRC de Montcalm

Officially, the cause of the explosion is still unknown. But It was fire for sure […] Random in natureMr. Thivierge commented.

Relatives of the missing live while waiting for answers to their questions A lot of anxietyAccording to the fire chief – a sentiment shared by many residents of Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan, he said, the Lafortune family Very involved in the community.

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The firefighters’ intervention on Thursday was not easy.

Photo: The Canadian Press/Ryan Remiers

In an interview with ICI RDI, Viateur Lamarche, a former employee of the company, said he would not have. Never thought That something like that could happen.

We were really equipped, we had fire extinguishers and someone was coming regularly to checkHe said on Friday. The control was very, very goodNow retired from Propane LaFortune, a company established 67 years ago, Mr. Lamarche promised.

Although everything points to it being an accident, the investigation has been handed over to the Major Crime Branch. SQ. Sergeant Gossett said on Friday that it was being held under the death penalty law.

From fire scene technicians SQ and pathologists from the Forensic Science and Forensic Laboratory. Representatives of CNESSTThe Régie du bâtiment and the Ministry of the Environment are also on site.

The department indicated to Radio-Canada on Friday Control measures The L’Achigan River was constructed to prevent pollution.

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