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Monday, March 04, 2013

Inquiry begins into mall collapse in Elliot Lake, Ontario

The inquiry into the collapse of a mall in Elliot Lake, ON, that left two dead and many others injured, begins Monday in the northern Ontario town.On June 23, Doloris Perizzolo, 74, and Lucie Aylwin, 37, were killed when the rooftop parking lot of the Algo Centre Mall collapsed on top of them.
Twenty-two others were injured.
In a statement last August, just after the inquiry was announced, the owners of the mall said they "are committed to trying to understand the cause of the roof collapse" and had "retained all the necessary professionals, including structural engineers, to help explain the cause of such a terrible event."
But they also denied rumblings from locals that they "knew of a danger, ignored the warnings concerning the roof, yet chose to do nothing."
The commission, headed by Judge Paul Belanger, has received about 280,000 documents and interviewed 250 people. It will examine why the roof collapsed and whether the emergency response was adequate, but it is not mandated to assign blame for the tragedy.
"The commission is to review relevant legislation, regulations and bylaws, policies processes and procedures of provincial and municipal governments and other parties with respect to the structural integrity of the Algo Centre Mall and the emergency management and response" the inquiry website reads. "The commission is to make recommendations to prevent such occurrences in the future."
Family members of the two women killed are suing the owner, among others, for $11.25 million.
And a $30-million class-action suit launched in July alleges building engineers M.R. Wright and Associates had reported prior to the collapse that the building was "structurally sound." The owner of the mall, the province and city are also named in that suit.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
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