Quebec seniors home fire death toll rises to 24

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 01 2014 09:23 AM | Updated as of Feb 01 2014 05:23 PM

OTTAWA - Canadian authorities updated the confirmed death toll to 24 from a fire at a seniors home in the small town of L'Isle-Verte, Quebec earlier this month.

Eight others still remain unaccounted for, said police. More charred remains are being analyzed in hopes of identifying more victims.

Meanwhile, a mass for the victims is to be held at the local church on Saturday, attended by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The blaze at the 52-unit residence in the small town 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of Montreal, broke out just after midnight on January 23.

Within about an hour, the wood-frame, three-floor building was completely engulfed in flames, fanned by frigid winds of up to 70 kilometers (43 miles) per hour.

Recovery efforts have been hampered by extreme cold, which turned water used to fight the flames into a thick blanket of ice covering the site.

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