Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Search continues for two missing Quebec firefighters swept away during spring floods

By The Canadian Press   

Headlines News Emergency & disaster management firefighters flooding missing Quebec

May 2, 2023, Baie-Saint-Paul, Que. – The search continued Tuesday for two Quebec firefighters swept away in floodwaters northeast of Quebec City, as heavy rains washed out roads and cut off homes in several regions across the province.

Specialized aerial and ground rescue teams were looking for the two first responders, who went missing Monday afternoon while helping flooded residents in the community of St-Urbain, Que., in Quebec’s Charlevoix region, provincial police Sgt. Beatrice Dorsainville said.

Environment Canada says Charlevoix received between 50 and 60 millimetres of rain between Sunday and Monday and was expected to get another 10 mm to 20 mm by Wednesday.

Public Security Minister Francois Bonnardel travelled to Baie-St-Paul, Que., a city under a state of emergency just south of St-Urbain, where he told reporters that the worst had likely passed but the situation would remain complicated for the coming days.

“We may have some precipitation, some rain for the next 24 to 48 hours, so we’re still looking at and monitoring the level of the river,” Bonnardel said Tuesday about the swollen Riviere du Gouffre, which tore apart roads in the region and left homes isolated.

Dorsainville said police divers, Canadian Coast Guard members and dozens of officers on the ground were looking for the missing firefighters.

The floodwaters from the Riviere du Gouffre sliced in half Route 138, the main road in the region, leaving residents stranded on either side.

Baie-St-Paul Mayor Michael Pilote told reporters Tuesday that about 600 people had been evacuated because of the flooding, adding that some might be able to return once a bridge linking the east and west parts of the city is reopened.

Charlevoix is one of several parts of the province hit hard by flooding after a period of heavy rain, with some communities in the region declaring a state of emergency.

Officials in the municipality of St-Come, Que., in the Lanaudiere region, also declared a state of emergency Monday.

Quebec’s Public Security Department said there was major flooding along the Ottawa River at Baie Quesnel, just west of Montreal, and along the Riviere du Nord in St-Jerome, about 60 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

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