Quick response during a major fire at the Villa des Basques in Trois-Pistoles

Intervention rapide lors d’un incendie majeur à la Villa des Basques de Trois-Pistoles

The 71 residents of the Villa des Basques were installed quickly and no one was injured during the fire.

29 dec 2019 10: 06

Updated at 20h56

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Quick response during a major fire at the Villa des Basques in Trois-Pistoles

Intervention rapide lors d’un incendie majeur à la Villa des Basques de Trois-Pistoles

Judith Desmeules

The Sun

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Almost six years after the tragedy of L’isle-Verte, the balance sheet more than positive drawn up after the major fire in a residence for seniors in Trois-Pistoles is good. “We learn from each disaster,” says the director of the fire service, Pascal Rousseau.

The major fire at the residence Villa des Basques in the night from Saturday to Sunday has forced the evacuation and relocation of its 71 residents. The fire started around 2am in the building of the street Father-New.

All residents were evacuated quickly, the bus is already waiting at the exit for the warm up and lead in safe places. Fortunately, nobody was injured. First installed at the hospital in Trois-Pistoles, the residents were then directed to their family, in private residences or NURSING homes.

“The evacuation was well organized, it is necessary to understand that at night, it is always more difficult, we try to wake them up and explain quickly. Considering all these factors, it was very well. There has been a good collaboration of the partners”, underlines the director of the fire service Trois-Pistoles, Pascal Rousseau.

This collaboration has also been central to the success of the intervention, according to the firefighter. The fire was of “some importance” and the work of six barracks have been necessary to control the fire, five fire crews from neighbouring municipalities came in reinforcement.

“The self-help, this is what has made the outcome of this night. In gang, it is strong and it has been proven. I am proud of my troops. I think everyone is very tired [Sunday night], it is because they have done a good job.”

Sprinklers in function

The event last night did not go without recalling the tragedy of L’isle-Verte, nearby municipality of Trois-Pistoles, where 32 elderly people had lost their lives in the terrible fire of the Residence du Havre.

Several lessons had been learned from this event in the January 23, 2014. The public inquiry had recommended the installation of sprinklers in all residences for seniors, as well as the improvement of the training of firefighters in the region.

A new requirement has been adopted : all seniors ‘ residences, must have sprinkler system prior to December 2, 2020.

“The sprinklers, it did the job as they say. It is proven that it slows the spread of fire. From our side, we are working hard with the owners of the residences to ensure that everything is standards-compliant, even if it is difficult. A lot of work is done by way of prevention, it is reflected in the response”, adds the director of the fire Service Trois-Pistoles.

Relocation quick

As soon as the call received that night, the teams of the CISSS du Bas-Saint-Laurent set to work to take care of the residents. Buses have been sent on-the-field, a support service for psychological support has been deployed and the medications have been transferred.

“Every loss brings a bunch of improvement, this is the case for Trois-Pistoles, like other fire services in Quebec,” says Fanny Maltais, coordinator of emergency measures and civil security to the CISSS du Bas-Saint-Laurent, is pleased with the positive assessment of Sunday.

It also highlights the mutual support between the different emergency services, which has made the work effective. Ms. Maltese and her team insist on the”excellent work” carried out by the various actors in the middle in the day on Sunday, which has been long for several.

“Since this night, we are working to support seniors. We worked the whole morning to relocate them temporarily depending on the profile of our victims”, she says.

Around noon and a half on Sunday, the 71 elders were installed elsewhere, with everything they need. Thirty of them were supported by their family, while others are found in various institutions of the surroundings. Ms. Maltese said that all were in good condition, two residents were treated for minor injuries related to their condition.

The partnership is well-woven between the CISSS du Bas-Saint-Laurent and the fire Service Trois-Pistoles was the “key to success” in this crisis management.

“Kudos to all the teams. Everything has worked very well, it was an evacuation according to the protocol. The alarm system has worked well and has in fact transmitted an alert to the central of the firefighters who have worked very well and came in support of the evacuation,” says Ms. Maltais.

Ongoing investigation

Several damages to the building have been left by the fire, smoke and water sprinklers.

For what is the cause of the fire, an investigation is underway with the Sûreté du Québec (SQ). Two technicians at the scene and fire investigators remained on-site throughout the day Sunday to determine the circumstances. The SQ does not exclude that it was an arson.

The police have indicated that the expertise of the scene will probably take all day and that she could stretch out until Monday.

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