NEWS

L'Isle-Verte coroner says witness testimony 'improbable'

12/18/2014 10:50 EST | Updated 02/17/2015 05:59 EST
The coroner presiding over the L’Isle-Verte verte has asked one of the main witnesses to consult a lawyer to see if he wants to change his testimony.

Coroner Cyrille Delâge, an expert in fires, told Bruno Bélanger that his version of the facts appears "improbable."

Bélanger was the orderly on duty the night that 32 people died in the three-storey section of the Résidence du Havre in the tiny village along the coast of the St-Lawrence river.

Bélanger said he never saw flames or fire in the kitchen where he had been working.

He also said there was smoke on the second floor, outside the room of a resident who was a smoker.

A lawyer representing the municipality, Eric Hardy, showed Bélanger a statement he had made to police after the fire.

At that time, Bélanger said he didn't "persist to put out fire" with an extinguisher because "I'd have died right there.”

Bélanger said in retrospect that he "panicked" – but he maintains that he never saw flames or fire in the kitchen.

Sgt. Carol De Champlain, a specialist for the Sûreté du Québec in fire investigations says the kitchen became the main focus of the investigation on Jan. 27.

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