The tragedy took the lives of two people, Lucie Aylwin, 37, an employee of College Boreal, and Doloris Perizzolo, who was in her 70s. Investigators believe they were both at the mall’s lottery kiosk, where Aylwin was working, at the time of the collapse.
An OPP spokesman, Const. Marc Despatie, said the OPP is only on the scene as a result of a request from the Office of the Chief Coroner, Dr. Andrew McCallum.
“Whenever there is a loss of life, the coroner is automatically involved,” Despatie said. “He invokes the authority given to him under the Coroner’s Act.
“So the OPP’s Criminal Investigations Branch is assisting the office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario with its investigation into the deaths of the people who perished in this tragedy and the circumstances surrounding the roof collapse.”
Despatie said it’s possible the OPP could launch its own investigation, depending on where the current probe leads.
“At this point, it is a coroner’s investigation,” he said. “Should, in the course of this investigation, certain evidence give rise to further, more detailed involvement of the OPP, we’ll certainly take those steps.
“However, we may get to the root causes of this tragedy without the need for further action by the OPP.”
It took rescue crews four days — and more than 100 hours — to recover the remains of the victims of the roof collapse. The collapse happened June 23, and the victims were pulled from the rubble June 27.
Despite hearing tapping noises, the rescue effort was called off at one point because of fears related to the structural integrity of the mall.
Specialized equipment – including a robotic arm – was brought in from Toronto, but it was too late to save the victims.
The OPP has established an information line for anyone with information that could help with the investigation. The information line is 1-855-677-4636 (1-855-OPP-INFO). OPP is asking the public to stay away from the mall until further notice.
“This is a very tragic incident,” OPP commissioner Chris Lewis said in a press released June 28. “Our sympathies go out to the families of victims who have lost their lives. Our people will continue to fully support the coroner's office to ultimately determine what happened and, possibly, how to prevent it from happening again.”
Despatie said right now, there are 25 officers on site, a mix of investigators and officers protecting the scene.
“Not the least of which is the perimeter security of the site itself,” he said, when asked why so many officers were needed. “As you can imagine - I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures – it’s quite a sizable site. In order to preserve what evidence there is at the scene, we’re conducting a thorough perimeter detail at the scene.”
He described officers from the CIB as “expert investigators who are specifically trained in expert and complex investigations.”
The investigation will take however long is necessary, he added.
“It would be difficult to speculate on that, given the sizable hurdles that are in our way,” he said. “We want to complete a thorough investigation, so we’re not going to cut it short in any way merely to satisfy some time frame.”
Officers will be conducting interviews with the mall owner, witnesses, mall employees and “will be reviewing videotapes, inspecting records – anything that could ultimately shed light on the cause of this tragedy will be thoroughly investigated by the OPP,” Despatie said.
Posted by Arron Pickard