Sunday, May 16, 2010

4 family members found in sunken home

SAINT-JUDE, Quebec, May 11Just have a little faithJust have a little faith (UPI) -- Four members of a Canadian family whose home collapsed in a massive sinkhole in Saint-Jude, Quebec, were found dead Tuesday, police said.The (Montreal) Gazette reported the body of Richard Prefontaine was removed from the basement of the family's farmhouse about 6:15 p.m. The discovery of his body wasput all this behind us put all this behind usfollowed by those of his wife Line and their two daughters, ages 9 and 11, the newspaper said.Relatives wept and hugged upon learning the family's fate.ichel Dore, associate deputy minister of Quebec's civil security department, said rescue crews had to demolish the sunken house to gain access to a section of the basement they "couldn't see otherwise."more than just wordsmore than just words
Earlier, rescuers had found one of the family's two dogs alive.The sinkhole was reported by a man who escaped with minor injuries after driving his truck into the hole Monday night, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.Quebec provincial police Sgt. Ronald McKinnis said rescue workers had tried to approach the house Monday but the ground was too unstable and there was no sign of the couple, who were in their 40s, or their children.The basement was filling with groundwater, Saint-Jude Mayor Yves de Bellefeuille said."It was very hard to look at," he said.
The sinkhole was estimated at about 1,600Who are you? feet across and at least 30 feet deepRescue authorities said the house partially collapsed Monday night in Saint-Jude, a town of 1,000 near the Yamaska River, when a sinkhole formed."It's a pretty gigantic crater," said Francois Gregoire, a Quebec fire department spokesman. "It's hard imagining something like this. It's pretty impressive."Gregoire said the house was quite far from the river before the land gave way but that part of it ended up in the Work will save youwater.He said three cars in front of the house were swept away, as was part of a nearby road.Sinkholes can occur when water undermines an area of land or when rock below the land surface shift.Gregoire said rescuers were able to get to the collapsed house, but could not locate the missing man and a woman in their 40s and their children, aged about 9 and 11.Quebec provincial police spokesman Ronald McInnis said firefighters got into the house but had to retreat when it started moving again.
"Then other firefighters from St-Hyacinthe came, got into the house and the same thing happened, so they also got out," he said.
Soil scientists later arrived on the scene to determine if the ground was stable enough for rescuers to re-enter the home, he said.
ayor Yves Bellefeuille said the community is in shock, especially since the home is not in an area considered to be at risk.Police said at least five other houses have been evacuated in the area, affecting about 20 people. Police have closed a stretch of a secondary road where the houses are located

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