Interested in learning more about fire protection for assisted living facilities? Click here.
Neighbors of an eastern Quebec senior home watched in horror as a ferocious inferno swallowed the building early Thursday and cries for help from residents could be heard from above.
At least three were killed and 30 still missing after the blaze ravaged the 52-unit Residence du Havre in the small community of L'Isle-Verte around 12:30 a.m. ET, officials said. The death toll was expected to increase as responders accessed the smoldering structure.
Alphonse Gagnon, 79, and his wife Yvette Michaud, 73, watched the massive fire burn from their home across the street. They didn't see anyone escape, they told NBC News.
Advertise | AdChoices
"The fire was so red, it lit up everything. ... I saw all of the tragedy," Michaud said in French. "We spent the whole night watching."
Michaud said authorities set up a white tent at the site, possibly for the dead. She said a number of the residents, most older than 75, used wheelchairs or suffered from illnesses, such as Alzheimer's.
"It was frightening," said Michaud, noting that she was "shaking" as she watched the blaze, thinking about her friends inside. "It's so dreadful."