Jan 24, 2014

By Jane Brown

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Searchers will continue to look for bodies today in the ice-covered ruins of a senior’s residence gutted by fire early yesterday in eastern Quebec.  There are five confirmed deaths with 30 residents still missing.  Lieutenant Guy Lapointe of Quebec’s Provincial Police says the challenge now becomes very tricky, “and for us it’s important to go very delicately because we want to make sure to preserve potential victims that might’ve been inside the blaze.”  Parts of the senior’s residence in the small community of L’Isle-Verte had sprinklers, while others didn’t. The sprinklers that were in place did go off when the fire broke out.

This devastating fire is raising questions about whether more stringent regulations are needed in seniors homes right across the country.  Susan Eng is the Vice President of Advocacy for CARP – a New Vision of Aging for Canadians.  She says fire codes and nursing home regulations are a provincial responsibility but she points out, nothing stops the provinces from adopting a common set of standards.  Eng says sprinklers are only part of the equation and staffing levels are just as important.  She notes most residents at the Quebec home were not mobile and says two staff members on duty wasn’t nearly enough.

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