Quebec community mourns 4 family members killed in home construction incident

An SQ police car is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 22, 2020. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

A rural community in Quebec’s Bas-St-Laurent region was in mourning on Monday after four family members died in a tragic home construction accident over the weekend.

Investigators said two men and two women were atop a scissor lift on Saturday in St-Léandre, Que., when the device toppled for an unknown reason.

Sixty-year-old Marco Roy and 53-year-old Jocelyne Bouchard were killed, as were 27-year-old Emerik Chénard and 24-year-old Kim Blouin.

Police said the older two victims came from Rivière-du-Loup, 200 kilometres northeast of Quebec City, and that the younger two were from St-Léandre, a town of less than 400 people, about 400 kilometres northeast of the provincial capital.

St-Léandre Mayor Steve Castonguay said on Facebook that the entire town is in shock and is mourning the victims.

“There are no words to express the pain of this tragedy that takes our breath away,” the mayor’s message said.

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“The municipality of St-Léandre is in shock. We can only stand in solidarity with the families affected and face this tragedy with courage and resilience.”

Parti Québécois legislature member Pascal Bérubé, whose riding includes the town of St-Léandre, expressed his condolences to the Maridel dairy farm, which has been owned by the Blouin family for several generations.

“My thoughts are with the family and loved ones,” he said, posting a group photo from his visit to the farm a year ago.

Several neighbouring towns and agricultural organizations also expressed condolences on social media, including the Institut de technologie agroalimentaire du Quebec, which said Blouin had graduated from its college-level agricultural management program in 2019.

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The Fondation de la santé de Rivière du Loup, a heath-care foundation, said Roy was a former board member, and praised both him and Bouchard as “beautiful, sweet and generous people.”

The couple were also avid salsa dancers who were well known in the local latin dance community, according to an online post by Salsa Rivière-du-Loup.

Quebec provincial police said the victims fell several metres when the construction lift toppled over. Chénard was declared dead at the scene, while the other three were taken to hospital but did not survive their injuries.

A police spokesperson said Monday that the force has no further information on what caused the equipment failure. The Quebec coroner’s office is also investigating the deaths.


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