Two days after a section of roof collapsed into the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, Ontario, residents knew one person was dead. They feared 30 were still missing. Rescue workers were pulled back from the unstable structure.
Townspeople were stunned. Lorrie Goldstein of the “Toronto Sun” asked a question on everyone’s minds in Elliot Lake:
If rescuers were coming to the conclusion they lacked the resources to safety search the mall, why weren’t steps being taken to address that from the moment they first expressed them, rather than, apparently, only after grief-stricken Elliot Lake residents expressed outrage about the initial decision to shut down rescue efforts?
The collapse occurred Saturday, June 23rd. The morning of June 27th “CBC News” reported two bodies were pulled from the twisted wreckage of the mall. In the intervening days, relieved friends and relatives were able to account for most of those they feared might have been in the mall. Many kept vigil, refusing to abandon those trapped under the rubble.
The step-by-step unfolding of the Elliot Lake tragedy detailed by CBC is wrenching to read and offers a glimpse into the agony of the townspeople watching it all unfold. Special equipment was brought in, and the rescue efforts continued. Days passed. Hopes of finding someone alive diminished.
On Sunday there was still hope of pulling someone out alive. Another CBC report said the HUSAR (Heavy Urban Search and Rescue Team) from Toronto reported hearing tapping. At 4 a.m. Monday rescue teams “detected more ‘signs of life’ in the mall.
After the second body was pulled from the wreckage Wednesday morning, HUSAR commander Bill Neadles told media, “I believe there is no one else in there,” and said he did not expect rescue workers to find other victims.
Next: Painful Questions Remain
Photos from Elliot Lake blogger's video
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