Harper attends memorial service for senior home fire victims

Feb. 1, 2014 at 10:38 PM
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L'ISLE-VERTE, Quebec, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Canada's prime minister was among several hundred mourners at a memorial mass Saturday for the 32 victims of a seniors home fire in L'Isle-Verte, Quebec.

The service at St. John the Baptist Church was held the same day the remains of three more victims of the Jan. 23 blaze were recovered from the ice-covered and charred rubble of the Residence du Havre seniors' home. QMI Agency reported. A total of 27 bodies have been recovered with five yet to be found.

Other dignitaries at the mass included Quebec Premier Pauline Marois, federal NDP and Liberal leaders Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau, Gov. Gen. David Johnston, Colette Roy-Laroche, the mayor of the town of Lac-Megantic where dozens of people were killed last year in an explosion and fire caused by a runaway train, and several Quebec politicians.

Rimouski Archbishop Pierre-Andre Fournier praised the rescue workers, firefighters and first responders, prompting applause from the crowd, QMI Agency said.

The Rev. Gilles Frigon of St. John the Baptist Church said in his homily that those who passed away in the fire "are the most vulnerable people in our society."

"Nobody deserves to have their lives end in that fashion," he said.

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