Workers search for victims of Canada roof collapse

Elliott Lake Mayor Rick Hamilton said workers still removing the debris. Officials were using two cranes in the stabilization efforts, more than 40 hours after the collapse occurred.

A woman checks out the damage after a roof collapsed at the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Saturday, June 23, 2012. The partial collapse prompted a local state of emergency and a search for anyone who might have been injured in the cave-in. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Cora Richer)

ELLIOT LAKE, Ontario (AP) — Rescuers worked Monday to stabilize the structure of a shopping mall in order to send in teams following a roof collapse that left at least one person feared dead and another trapped inside the rubble, officials said Monday.

Elliott Lake Mayor Rick Hamilton said workers still removing the debris. Officials were using two cranes in the stabilization efforts, more than 40 hours after the collapse occurred.

Workers were unable to reach anyone Sunday because the structure was too unstable.

"Nobody has given me an indication on when it's too late," Hamilton said in a telephone interview. "We're working under the premise that it is a rescue. They are going to work as diligently as they can and as carefully as they can."

Officials said Sunday night it would take until Monday morning before the area was deemed safe enough for rescue teams to return. Images taken with a remote camera show a hand and foot in the dusty debris, said Ontario Provincial Police Insp. Percy Jollymore

Fire officials heard tapping Sunday morning in another part of the rubble, but nothing has been heard for hours. They said they also tried to reach that person by drilling through a wall, but found the structure too unsafe to risk entering.

Police compiled a list of nine people missing since the collapse Saturday, but the names were being crossed off as members of the community accounted for their loved ones. Hamilton said he didn't have an update on how many remain missing.

Bianka Manning, a teacher from the local French high school, said she feared a former high school classmate may be trapped among the wreckage.

Manning said her friend worked at the mall's lottery kiosk, but she didn't know if she was inside the mall when the roof caved in. Manning and two of her students spent all of Sunday night sitting outside the mall wrapped in blankets, waiting for news.

At least 22 people suffered minor injuries in the roof collapse at theAlgo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake.

A portion of the roof that serves as a parking area crumbled down two floors into an area near the food court on Saturday afternoon, leaving behind a gaping hole which was 12 meters (39 feet) by 24 meters (79 feet). It also downed hydro lines and triggered a gas leak.

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Associated Press Writer Rob Gillies in Toronto contributed to this report.
Associated Press
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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