US & Canada

Quebec fire home search: Many people still missing

Police investigator in the rubble of fire-hit retirement home in L'Isle-Verte, Quebec (24 Jan) Image copyright AP
Image caption Rescuers have been working in difficult conditions

Crews recovered two more bodies on the third day of search efforts at a retirement home in Quebec that was destroyed by fire.

Ten people are confirmed dead after Thursday's blaze in L'Isle Verte, north-east of Canada's Quebec City. Twenty-two are missing.

Search teams brought in new equipment - designed mainly for de-icing ships - as temperatures hovered around -10C (14F).

Police are examining the theory the fire was started by a cigarette.

However, spokesman Lt Guy Lapointe told a news conference on Saturday that it was one possibility among many.

The ruins of the Residence du Havre have collapsed and are frozen over with a thick layer of ice from fire hoses.

"The conditions are very, very difficult," Lt Guy said on Saturday. "Our people are exhausted."

He said the ice was as thick as 60cm (2ft) in places.

About 20 elderly residents survived the fire, officials say.

The Red Cross said it had raised about 200,000 Canadian dollars ($US180,000, £110,000) to provide them with clothes, hearing aids, wheelchairs, and other urgent supplies.

Police said the process of clearing the ice would continue into Saturday night and the search efforts would resume on Sunday.

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