NEWS

Coroner's Inquest Into L'Isle Verte Retirement Home Fire Begins

11/17/2014 05:00 EST | Updated 01/16/2015 05:59 EST
Nearly a year after a fire killed 32 people living in a L’Isle Verte, Que., retirement home, the search for answers begins.

The Quebec coroner will begin an inquest into the circumstances that led to the Résidence de Havre seniors’ home burning to the ground on a frigid January night.

The inquest begins Monday at 9:30 a.m. at the Rivière-du-Loup courthouse and will wrap up on Nov. 26 after six days of hearings.

The coroner is expected to make a series of recommendations to the province about how to prevent an event like this from happening in the future.

An older wing of the Résidence de Havre caught fire around midnight on Jan. 23, 2014 and was consumed quickly.

Thirty-two people died in the fire, although it took weeks for their identities to be confirmed because many of the victims were so badly burned.

After the fire, it was discovered there were no sprinklers installed in that section of the residence, which was built in 1997.

A newer wing, built in 2002, did have automatic sprinklers.

The fire prompted serious questions about whether the province’s sprinkler and fire regulations go far enough.

It also called into question whether regional fire departments are equipped to handle a fire of that magnitude.

It took nearly 20 minutes for the first fire truck to arrive at the L’Isle Verte retirement home and for the fire chief to call in reinforcements.

The list of witnesses expected to testify at the coroner’s inquest has not yet been made public.

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