Ontario’s emergency response protocols under review following Elliot Lake disaster

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Thursday, June 28, 2012 – Globe and Mail

ADAM RADWANSKI AND ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

With two bodies pulled from the wreckage of Elliot Lake’s Algo Mall, Dalton McGuinty’s government is set to begin a grim review of whether Ontario’s own emergency-response processes undermined the ultimately fruitless rescue mission.

A source in the Premier’s Office confirmed on Wednesday that the review will consider whether the specialized excavator used to dismantle the collapsed mall – four days after the crisis began – should have been brought in sooner.

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Premier faces questions over stop-and-start rescue at Elliot Lake

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 – Globe and Mail
ADAM RADWANSKI, ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY, STEPHEN SPENCER DAVIS and JANE SWITZER

TORONTO and ELLIOT LAKE, ONT. — Ontario’s Premier acknowledges that confusion and delays in the effort to reach possible survivors of a shopping mall roof collapse have raised concerns about the province’s capacity to respond to serious emergencies.

“There will be a time for questions that need to be asked about what and when and how and why not,” Premier Dalton McGuinty said Tuesday, after being asked how a race to reach potential survivors could be halted and then resumed only after his intervention.

As heavy equipment began rumbling up the highway to the Algo Mall in Elliot Lake to undertake the task of prying apart heavy concrete slabs inside an unstable structure, questions also grew as to whether clearer lines of communication and stronger leadership on the ground could have saved precious time.

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After Elliot Lake mall collapse, heartbreak and hope

Chris Young/Canadian Press

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 – Globe and Mail

ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY AND STEPHEN SPENCER DAVIS

TORONTO and SUDBURY — Rescuers will try “drastic” measures to reach possible survivors in a collapsed mall, acting at the urging of the community and Ontario’s Premier after search-and-rescue operations were suspended over safety fears.

Crews who just hours earlier were pulled from the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, Ont. will have another go at the structure relying on machinery, said fire chief Paul Officer.

Officials believe there is one person dead and possibly at least one still alive in the wreckage. Reaching them could require methods that are “a little more drastic, that aren’t necessarily done in a rescue operation – or even a recovery operation,” Chief Officer told a news conference Monday evening. “And we still have to come up with that plan.”

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Elliot Lake rescue mission halted as collapsed mall deemed unsafe

Chris Young/Canadian Press

ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY, CAROLINE ALPHONSO AND STEPHEN SPENCER DAVIS
Monday, June 25, 2012 – Globe and Mail

Rescue crews have been called off the scene of a fatal mall collapse in Elliot Lake, Ontario: The structure is simply too dangerous to send people into.

Ontario Provincial Police and crews from Toronto’s Heavy Urban Search and Rescue spent hours making their way through the rubble of the mall, which collapsed Saturday afternoon, killing at least one person and injuring more than 20.

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