February 16, 2015 5:45 pm
Updated: February 16, 2015 8:04 pm

Quebec fire chiefs accept coroner’s criticism on L’Isle Verte, blame province


QUEBEC CITY — The Quebec Association of Fire Chiefs responded Monday to the coroner’s scathing report into the L’Isle-Verte tragedy.

The report said that local fire chief Yvan Charron took too long to reach the Résidence du Havre and to call for backup.

WATCH: Stories from Global’s L’Isle Verte coverage

In his report, coroner Cyrille Delâge also noted Charron was protected by a grandfather clause, exempting him from training.

“We accept the coroner’s conclusions,” said Association president, Daniel Brazeau.

“They’re identical to the ones we put in a brief back in 2012.”

His colleague Richard Amnotte added: “The reaction is in line with what the Quebec Association of Fire Chiefs has been defending for so many years.”

“We’re looking to enhance to the firefighter training, making it more accessible.”

Fire chiefs said training has been inconsistent for volunteer and part-time fire fighters because there simply wasn’t enough money.

The Quebec Association of Fire Chiefs on February 16, 2015.

Jean-Vincent Verville/Global News

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The province announced in December it is investing $20 million, but financial support could have come earlier, said Amnotte.

“The coroner has brought forward the importance of regrouping, unifying fire departments to make them stronger, especially in rural and distant areas,” he said.

READ MOREL’Isle-Verte residents will gather to remember fire victim

Last week, Premier Philippe Couillard promised concrete changes.

For seniors’ advocate Sheri McLeod, the time has come to reestablish trust.

“There may be a certain amount of wishful thinking, feeling that we are protected,” McLeod told Global News.

Three ministers are currently at work on this file, although they refused to go into detail about next steps.

“The report will not be pushed aside,” said Health Minister Gaétan Barrette.

“Most, if not all recommendations will be put in place.”

In the meantime, fire chiefs were urging Quebec to inspect all seniors’ homes and install sprinklers in other buildings where seniors may be staying.

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