Engineer charged in fatal Elliot Lake mall collapse

A firefighter looks down from the second floor to the first following the partial roof collapse at...

A firefighter looks down from the second floor to the first following the partial roof collapse at the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, June 23, 2012. In the lower right-hand corner of the photo, you can see the roof of a vehicle. (Photo courtesy of MICHAEL RAY NEELY)

Kevin McSheffrey, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:46 PM ET

The man who last inspected the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, Ont., before the roof collapsed and killed two women has been charged with criminal negligence.

Robert Wood is accused of two counts of criminal negligence causing death and one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, Ontario Provincial Police announced Friday.

Lucie Aylwin, 37, and Doloris Perizzolo, 74, were killed when the mallís rooftop parking lot caved in on June 23, 2012.

Wood, 64, was the last person to inspect the mall before the disaster.

The OPP, with the help of contracted engineers, took concrete core slab samples for testing and recreated a model of the mall as part of an exhaustive investigation.

ďObviously, this was a unique, complex and challenging investigation, which took considerable time to process evidence and being precise in the application of criminal law,Ē Det. Supt Dave Traux told gathered media on Friday.

He added the investigation continues and further charges could still be laid in the collapse.

Wood was a central figure in the months-long inquiry into the mallís roof collapse that ended in October after hearing from 125 witnesses.

He was questioned about a reported conversation he had with a prospective buyer of the mall in 2011, in which he apparently said the mallís roof was in danger of crumbling if expensive fixes were not made. But then, in 2012, he told the mallís owners the roof was in need of some repair, but that it was otherwise sound. He also admitted to altering his inspection report at the clientís request.

His engineering licence was revoked by the Professional Engineerís Association of Ontario in 2011.

The inquiry also heard the mallís shoddy construction and design had long caused problems, including a leaking roof, but successive owners failed to fix it.

A report from that inquiry is due Oct. 31.

Both victimsí families have filed lawsuits against the mall, its current and previous owners, the city and the province.

Wood is expected in court March 25.


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