11/25/2014 11:23 EST | Updated 01/25/2015 05:59 EST

Fire chief testifies at L'Isle-Verte coroner's inquest

The fire chief for L'Isle-Verte says he didn't immediately call in reinforcements for the massive fire at a seniors home, because it didn't occur to him. 

The coroner’s inquest into the deadly fire at the Résidence du Havre is hearing much-anticipated testimony from the community’s fire chief, YvanCharron.

The overnight fire killed 32 elderly men and women in January.

Charron told coroner Cyrille ​Delâge that in the past, he normally called for reinforcements once he arrived at the scene. 

He said when he arrived, he expected the evacuation of the Résidence du Havre to be underway. 

Charron said he didn’t think some of the residents would still be asleep in bed in their rooms, possibly medicated. 

Earlier testimony revealed certain weaknesses in the firefighters' response after the first fire alarms went off.

On the first day of the inquest, the coordinator for fire safety in the region had harsh words for the fire department’s response.

“People were left on their own,” Christian Chénard-Guay told coroner Cyrille Delâge.

Chénard-Guay testified about a fire chief’s responsibilities when a high-risk building such as a seniors' residence catches fire.

He said the fire chief must call for help from other fire departments immediately, and a command post has to be set up to coordinate the efforts to put out the flames.