Quebec fire: Four more bodies pulled from destroyed seniors' home

Police officers walk on the site of a fire at the Residence du Havre in L'Isle Verte, Quebec,...

Police officers walk on the site of a fire at the Residence du Havre in L'Isle Verte, Quebec, January 26, 2014. (JEAN-FRANCOIS DESGAGNES/QMI AGENCY)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:39 PM ET

L'ISLE-VERTE, Que. - Recovery crews pulled four more bodies from the rubble of a fire-ravaged seniors' home, bringing the death toll to 14 with 18 missing.

Provincial police made the announcement Monday afternoon.

Fire destroyed a wing of the Residence du Havre on Thursday in this small town two hours northeast of Quebec City.

The search resumed Monday morning after blizzard conditions and bitter cold halted recovery efforts Sunday.

Search teams are using de-icing equipment to penetrate the foot-thick ice that coats the rubble.

The results are "encouraging," provincial police spokesman Guy Lapointe said. Large tarps are draped over the site to block wind and prevent more ice from forming.

Authorities have also brought in a special device typically used to heat up icebreaking ships.

The tarps have withstood -30 C windchills and powerful gusts that approached 90 km/h.

"We were still able to proceed because it was still warm under the tarps," Lapointe said. "Morale on the ground is good. People are working hard."

The municipality has formally requested emergency provincial aid. Coroner's spokeswoman Genevieve Guilbault said the department's forensic lab is "stretched to the limit."

So far only three bodies have been identified.

Also on Monday, families began to prepare funerals.

The memorials will be organized by the same Catholic authorities who planned funerals in the community of Lac-Megantic, Que., where 47 people died in a runaway train explosion last July.

Parish officials have advised families in L'Isle-Verte that mass funerals are available.


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