Quebec City fire victims sue after being forced to jump four floors to safety
QUEBEC CITY – In a harrowing moment as a fire raged through her fourth storey apartment, Nathalie Chicoine had to choose between two terrifying options.
“She said, ‘M. Bertrand, I was sure [I was going] to die inside [the apartment] or die when I decided to jump,'” her lawyer, Guy Bertrand explained.
“And after a few days, when she came back from the coma, she thought she was dead.”
Chicoine, her 10-year-old son and her partner were forced to jump from a window as their apartment was consumed in flames Jan. 6 in the Charlesbourg neighbourhood of Quebec City.
Fire trucks were on the scene, but firefighters were unable to release a ladder up to them.
For Chicoine, the jump to the ground meant 14 hours in surgery, five facial fractures, fractures to her hip, arm and leg and at least six months in recovery.
WATCH: Quebec City family jumps from fourth floor
The fire department, who declined to comment, citing an ongoing lawsuit, is investigating why the ladder was not working.
The family insisted it doesn’t understand why nothing else could have been done.
“So, we ask the City of Quebec to explain why they didn’t have a Plan B,” Bertrand told Global News.
It’s a question family members have been asking since the incident: why wasn’t an inflatable cushion or a trampoline or a mattress set out to catch them?
The fire hall was only 350 metres away, so Bertrand is also asking if firefighters responded soon enough.
Monday, he received an encouraging letter from the city.
In it, the Quebec City fire department said it needs more time to review the case, but they aren’t denying responsibility.
Bertrand expects the case to take at least six months to prepare in order to know how much to ask in damages, but he added he expects the city to settle out of court.
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