Pope Francis is offering his spiritual support to an eastern Quebec community devastated by a fire at a seniors' home that has left 32 people feared dead.

As of Thursday afternoon, 21 people were confirmed dead.

Eleven people are still unaccounted for following the early morning blaze at Residence du Havre in L'Isle-Verte on Jan. 23.

The Pope's sympathies follow those of the Queen, who offered her condolences in a message released the day after the fire.

Vatican Secretary of State Archbishop Pietro Parolin wrote Thursday that Pope Francis was immediately touched by the tragedy upon learning of it.

He says Pope Francis has imparted a special apostolic blessing to those affected by the tragedy.

Emergency crews have worked in sub-zero temperatures to recover bodies and evidence from the rubble of the seniors' home.

Special machines to melt thick sheets of ice coating the structure have been used to help them gain access.