A ceremony was held Thursday morning at the memorial to the victims on the shore of Horne Lake. Survivors will also gather at the exact time of the collapse, which took place at 2:23 p.m. on June 23, 2012.
Two cars crashed through the roof to land above the food court, killing 37-year-old Lucie Aylwin and 74-year-old Doloris Perizzolo.
About twenty other people were injured during this tragedy which shook the community. The municipality declared a state of emergency and Toronto rescuers were called to help with the search.
Celestine Blanchard worked at the Algo Center in June 2012. She knew the two victims, two women everyone in Elliot Lake knew and liked, she says.
It feels like yesterday for me, and I’m sure it is for others who have been involved in this case.says Ms. Blanchard.
There weren’t many people in the mall because it was a nice day, so they were all outside. The start of the day was normalshe continues.
” I heard sounds that sounded like electricity. I thought it was the TV outside the restaurant. I went out to check and that was not it. I found that weird. I turned back to the restaurant, there was a “woosh” and I felt air and dust on my back. There was a big sound, like a train, but ten times louder. »
People in the Algo room and restaurant patrons were able to escape to safety by fleeing through the rear exit door that joined the two rooms.
Ten years after the tragedy, the pain is still raw. Some relatives of the victims even refuse to take part in the annual commemoration of the tragedy.
They still haven’t gotten the answers they’ve been looking for about the crashdeplores Celestine Blanchard.
I am still shockedsays Dan Machisella, mayor of Elliot Lake since 2014.
With each passing year, I am appalled that such a tragedy has struck the community.
On the day of the collapse, Mr. Marchisella visited his father at the mall before returning to Petawawa to complete his move to Elliot Lake.
When I arrived, my army comrades asked me what happened. I listened to the news and then saw what happened and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was there a few hours earlier.
Her father was found safe and sound in the rubble after a few days of searching.
Elliot Lake’s general manager, Daniel Gagnon, was not living in his native area at the time of the collapse, but he remembers well the general feeling of citizens in the days following the tragedy.
It wasn’t clear or easy to know what was going on. It was hard to see this in the media and not have concrete detailshe shared at the microphone of the show Northern Morning.
In a report released in October 2014, following a lengthy public inquiry into the matter, the responsible commissioner Paul Bélanger concluded that human error was the main cause of the collapse.
Mr. Bélanger also criticized successive owners of the Algo Mall and several engineers and building inspectors for their negligence and inaction.
I and many others in the community have lost trust and respect for the people who were in place at that time. I believe we heal together in some way, but until there’s debriefing and resolution, it’s not overCity Councilor Luc Cyr told The Canadian News.
Because of the tragedy, Mr. Cyr decided to get involved in municipal politics. For more than eight years, he has been trying to build a sports complex on the site where the Algo Center used to be. However, he believes that the project will soon have to be redesigned due to numerous delays.
A decade later, the investigation into the collapse is over as engineer Robert Wood was found not guilty in 2017 of criminal negligence causing the deaths of two people.
” No one is responsible and that’s what’s frustrating. If companies were held accountable, perhaps they would be more vigilant at work. »
The civil suit brought against the former owners of the mall, the municipality and other individuals remains before the courts.
Lawyer for the Algo Center Action Committee, Doug Elliott, says that for many people, this file is a
wound that has not healed.
It upset me. I knew the building was in a pitiful state. But it was no surprise to mehe explained at the microphone of the show Northern Morning.
He adds that the court’s decision to exonerate the engineer represents another
hurt for the citizens of Elliot Lake.
However, the legal matters related to the file are far from over due to the class action lawsuit against the City.
Elliott believes the lawsuit is dragging on, but ending it will be good for the portfolio.
I don’t think the class action will shed any light on the facts, I think Commissioner Bélanger did a good job on that, but a little money can helphe believes.
With information from Frédéric Projean, Bienvenu Senga and CBC