McGuinty visits with first responders, families
9:53 p.m. on June 27
The names of the two victims pulled from the wreckage of the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake have been released.
College Boreal employee Lucie Aylwin, 37, is one of the people confirmed dead. She was also a part-time employee at one of the lotto booths within the shopping centre.
The second victim has been identified as Doloris Perizzolo, believed to have been in her 70s, although there was not very much information about her.
Both women were residents of Elliot Lake.
A second body has been found within the rubble of the Algo Centre, and search officials are confident that's all they will find.
Bill Neadles, of the Urban Search and Rescue Team, said based on the intelligence he has, which involved reviewing security footage, there is no one else in the rubble. This morning's search efforts were concentrated primarily on where the roof and the second floor had collapsed, he said.
As a result, searchers found the first victim, and Neadles said just as he was walking into the press conference, he was notified the second victim had been found a short distance from where the first victim had been found.
“Rubble continues to be removed slowly,” Neadles said during a 1 p.m. press conference. "Based on the intelligence that I have, I believe there is no one else in there. The list of individuals still missing has fluctuated, but there were two names that were constant.”
Adding to his assumption is the fact he was able to watch security footage, as well as the fact there have been no further indicators by the survivor dogs and cadaver dogs that there was anyone else in there, he said.
“Are we 100 per cent sure? Never. But we are 99 per cent confident that we have eliminated all options, and it would be a very big surprise to me if we find anybody else.”
Efforts will now focus on finishing that rubble pile, Neadles said, which is about five feet high and about 40 feet long to “ensure that we are, in fact, correct in my assumption that there are only the two victims in that complex.”
“We will go around to check a couple of areas we know we have yet to do, and then the Urban Rescue Team will have completed its task on behalf of the City of Elliot Lake,” he said.
He estimated that will be between one to two hours. Several teams will be sent in simultaneously to perform that work.
Meanwhile, Premier Dalton McGuinty has announced that he will be in Elliot Lake this afternoon to meet with families and first responders.
He released this statement prior:
“Like all Ontarians, I was deeply saddened to learn that emergency workers have recovered bodies from the mall collapse in Elliot Lake.
“This news comes as a terrible blow to the people of that community. We will continue to stand with them in their sorrow. And our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends who have lost loved ones.
“Our hearts are also with the dozens of emergency workers from Elliot Lake and beyond who have been working around the clock at the scene since the weekend. They have put their own lives at risk for the sake of others. They remind us of the sacrifices our first responders make every day.
“We live in a big province, but it feels a lot smaller at a time like this, as Ontarians come together to support the people of Elliot Lake. Together, we will lift them up as they recover from this tragedy.
“In the coming days, we will take the time to review the events as they unfolded to ensure we learn any lessons to be had. All Ontarians are committed to having a world-class emergency response program in place at all times.”
Ontario Provincial Police Insp. Percy Jollymore said the name of the first victim is not being released because, “we do not have 100 per cent identification. What's really hampering us in identifying the victim is the trauma as the result of the collapse; however, the coroner's office is working with the Ontario Provincial Police and the criminal investigation unit on identifying the victims.”
There is still a list of missing persons, which he confirmed is still at 12, but “really at the end of the day, there are only two names that remain outstanding and that are directly linked to the mall, and our investigators have linked those individuals to that location at the time of the collapse.”
The full extent of the devastation won't be know until the debris pile has been removed, he said.
Meanwhile, City of Elliot Lake officials, including Mayor Rick Hamilton, apologized for the gap in communications. Furthermore, a switch in venue from the community centre to a media scrum held outside the mall today drew some backlash from residents, because they weren't able to hear what was being said over the media. Those types of media scrums won't happen again.
“Emergency services continue exhaustive efforts to locate and remove any possible victims,” Hamilton said. “We offer deepest condolences and prayers to the families. This is a time to mourn, and I ask that (the media) respect the privacy of those families.”
Posted by Mark Gentili