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Over 30 People Missing After A Deadly Fire Ravages A Senior-Citizens Home In Canada

At least five people have died in the fire, which broke out in sub-freezing temperatures. Update: The death toll has climbed to 14.

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UPDATE —Jan. 27, 2014 7:10 p.m. ET:

The death toll from the fire climbed to 14 on Monday, Jan. 27, the Associated Press reported.

Police said 18 people were still missing and presumed dead as emergency workers continued their recovery effort through the frozen rubble.

The cause of the fire is yet to be determined.

At least five people died and over 30 are missing after a fire destroyed a wooden three-story home for the elderly in Quebec on Thursday, Jan. 23.

Mathieu Belanger / Reuters

The cause of the fire, which destroyed the 52-unit complex of Residence du Havre, has not been determined.

Emergency crews arrived within eight minutes of receiving the alarm and saw and heard many residents they were unable to save. They managed to rescue 20 of the home's 50 to 60 residents.

Mathieu Belanger / Reuters

Many residents were over 85 and used wheelchairs or walkers, with little chance of escape.

The fire erupted in sub-freezing temperatures (-4 Fahrenheit) at 12:30 a.m., causing equipment to freeze and hampering recovery effort. Firefighters battled the high-intensity blaze for five hours.

AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz

An update on the death toll remained uncertain because of the extreme cold and ice, according to Quebec Provincial Police Lt. Guy Lapointe.

Search teams are still going through wreckage and using steam to melt the ice.

Many of the volunteer firefighters from L'Isle-Verte, a small town of around 1,500, had relatives in the residence.

Mathieu Belanger / Reuters

Retired police officer Pierre Filion, who has two relatives missing from the residence, told the BBC that the tragedy had shaken the tightly knit community.

"It's going to take a long time to start living normally," he said.

Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at

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