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Rescue efforts continue at Ontario mall

June 26, 2012

On Saturday afternoon, the roof of a mall in Ontario collapsed and rescue teams are still working to get inside. The Toronto Star reports there are at least two people trapped inside the Algo Centre Mall in Eliot Lake, one of whom did not survive the accident.

Police detected someone breathing inside the mall, but rescue work was halted early Monday morning due to fear of further collapses, according to The Associated Press. This sparked outrage from local citizens, which led to a protest outside of city hall. Residents gathered in front of the building and were chanting, "Rescue missions never end, save our families, save our friends."

"It's too dangerous for people to go into that site until it's secure," Eliot Lake Mayor Rick Hamilton told the AP. "We're holding out hope. We're going to do everything we can until such time as we can get in there."

Now, efforts to reach the people still trapped have been renewed. Two large cranes are already at the mall and other heavy machinery is being brought as well. The Star indicates a new road has to be paved to the shopping center because the equipment is too large to reach the site on normal roads.

When the roof collapsed, 22 people were injured, and while there are at least two people trapped inside there may be more, according to the Star. One of the victims, Lucie Aylwin, was working at a lottery booth located at the collapse site. Her fiance, Gary Gendron, told the news publication he has hope Lucie is the one whose breath police heard on Monday morning.

"Fifty-fifty chance it's Lucie or it's that other lady Lucie was serving," Gendron told the Star. "I know, I have faith, it's Lucie."

Those who want to get the latest updates on the mall rescue can make calls to Canada with international phone cards.


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