The search for victims continues in Old Montreal Wednesday, nearly a week after a major fire left at least two dead and five missing.
Rescuers are slowly but surely combing through the historic building, which contained multiple illegal Airbnb units at the time of the fire.
Speaking at an early morning press briefing, officials reiterated that the building’s current state makes it unsafe for rescuers to enter on foot.
That’s why technicians will focus Wednesday on removing debris that poses a “secondary collapse risk,” including two chimneys, explained fire operations chief Martin Guilbault.
So far, strategic dismantling, crane exploration and camera probing have allowed investigators to peer under the third floor; but what lies below is harder to uncover.
“Some parts of the buildings are more collapsed than the others,” Guilbault added.
The first victim discovered, a woman, was extracted earlier this week. A second victim was removed around 5:25 on Tuesday. Officials would not confirm their sex.
Five people are still missing. The fire also injured nine, including two in critical condition.
Montreal police inspector David Shane said the period between locating and extracting a body can take hours, depending on its location.
“When they locate a body then they will need to have an action plan to approach it and be able to conduct their work,” he said.
Several family members have come forward and identified their missing loved ones.
They are Charlie Lacroix, 18, Saniya Khan, 32, Dania Zafar, 32, and An Wu, 31.