Fire Fighting in Canada

Headlines News
HUSAR team called to Elliott Lake after mall collapse

June 24, 2012, Elliott Lake, Ont. - Search and rescue teams are combing through debris for a number of people who appear to be missing after a roof collapsed at a mall in the northern Ontario city of Elliot Lake.

June 24, 2012 
By The Canadian Press

Provincial Police aren't releasing a number, but said they have
a list of potential missing people that's two pages long. They said
names continue to be crossed off that list as members of the
community account for their loved ones.

A portion
of the Algo Centre Mall's roof, which serves as a parking
lot, came crashing through two floors on Saturday afternoon. The
collapse left behind a gaping hole which was 12 meters by 24 metres,
downed hydro lines and triggered a gas leak.

kiosks selling lottery tickets, cigarettes and magazines were located
in the area where the roof caved in and were open before the collapse,
eyewitnesses said.


Hayward said he heard and felt a loud rumble moments before
the roof crumbled, filling the air with dust and debris.

still shaken up about it _ it's like being in a really bad earthquake,''
he told The Canadian Press on Sunday. 

didn't sleep very good last night,'' he said, adding worries about
those believed to be missing kept him awake.

OPP Inspector Percy Jollymore called the incident a "tragedy.''

He urged
anyone worried about missing loved ones to check in at an
information centre where police are tracking those who are unaccounted
for. Vicars and crisis councillors are on hand.

encourage people to contact that agency … so we can locate the
family members that they're trying to get a hold of, and we can shorten
that list,'' Jollymore said.

also said 22 people were injured in the collapse, but none of them
were seriously hurt.

"We are
still progressing with the rescue,'' said fire chief Paul
Officer. "We're dealing with large slabs of concrete.''

A Heavy
Urban Search and Rescue team from Toronto was sent to Elliot
Lake to help and confirmed Saturday night that at least one person
was trapped in the collapse. It wasn't immediately known if the
person was pulled out.

A canine
team, fire officials and paramedics were at the site, which
could take up to 10 to 12 hours to be stabilized by a special crew,
authorities said Sunday.

danger of shifting rubble caused fire crews to draw back from the site
around 4 p.m. on Saturday, said Officer, adding that thermal
sensors were then used to probe the scene for survivors.

camera operations took place until 6 o'clock. At that point we
exhausted all of our efforts to be able to discover if we had any victims
that we could extract,'' he said.

the heavy urban rescue team has a plan drawn up…shoring will take
place of the structure, they're somewhat limited on what they can
access but they will begin on the north side.''

Some say
the mall had fallen into disrepair long before Saturday's

mall's always had leaks (and) roof damage,'' Hayward said, noting
the ceiling dripped every time it rained.

He said
the centre underwent repairs a few years ago in an effort to plug
the leaking roof, but "they didn't fix the problem.''

spokeswoman for the mall, which is run by Eastwood Mall Incorporated,
said the company was referring all questions on the collapse
and the condition of the centre to its lawyer, who could not
immediately be reached for comment.

"All our
concern right now is our prayers are with the families,''
said Rhonda Bear.

A local
state of emergency was declared soon after the cave-in which
took place just before 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

collapse exposed a tangle of twisted metal and concrete supports
and shrouded surrounding areas in an ashy dust.

for the community poured in Sunday, with political leaders
pledging their support.

Dalton McGuinty said he was in touch with Elliot Lake's mayor and
thanked emergency crews in the city for their efforts.

"As we
anxiously wait to learn more about anyone thought to be missing
in Elliot Lake, our thoughts and prayers are with their families,
and also with those who have been injured and indeed with the
entire community,'' McGuinty said in a statement.

a crisis like this, I am reminded of the strength and resilience
of Northern Ontarians, and how by pulling together with our
friends, families and neighbours, we can get through these difficult

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said she was inspired to see the
community of roughly 11,000 pull together during the crisis.

will be time soon to examine what happened and why, but right now
our priority has to be protecting people's lives and health
and ensuring the immediate disaster relief this community needs,''
she said in a statement.

The mall
houses a grocery store, restaurants, a number of retail outlets
and the constituency office for NDP MPP Michael Mantha. A hotel is
also attached to the centre, which is the largest mall in Elliot

The city
is located about 160 kilometres west of Sudbury.

Print this page


Stories continue below