Elliot Lake officials 'wanted a better outcome'

The public inquiry examining the mall roof collapse in Elliot Lake has heard more about how city officials handled the disaster.

Fatal mall collapse inquiry hears from top officials during final week of testimony

The public inquiry examining the mall roof collapse in Elliot Lake has heard more about how city officials handled the disaster.

Chief Administrative Officer Robert deBortoli fought back tears at one point yesterday during his testimony about the rescue effort.

"We all wanted a better outcome, it just didn't happen."

After the mall roof fell, rescue teams spent days trying to reach two victims trapped inside.

Then the search commander decided the rescue was over because engineers determined that more of the collapsed building could fall on emergency responders.

The Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake in the fall of 2012. The ill-fated mall was demolished earlier this year. Two women died when its roof collapsed in June of 2012. A public inquiry into the tragedy wraps up this week.

Mayor Rick Hamilton was asked about the decision.

"You could have heard a pin drop in the room, sir," he said during testimony at the Elliot Lake inquiry.

"It's one of those things where you were expecting to have some good news about a recovery or a rescue and you end up with the news that nobody can go in there for what you can clearly see are the right reasons."

At the time, emergency responders were getting closer to the victims. Hamilton said he was expecting good news when officials met that day.

"I was shocked ... you could have stuck me with a pin and I wouldn't have felt a thing," he said.

The inquiry has heard the rescue effort resumed later that night, after urging from then-Premier Dalton McGuinty. McGuinty is scheduled to be the final witness at the inquiry on Wednesday.

Follow CBC News live coverage of the inquiry here:

The public inquiry was established in July 2012 by the Ontario government and has been underway in Elliot Lake since March.

It was created to report on events surrounding the mall roof's collapse on June 23, 2012, the deaths of Lucie Aylwin and Doloris Perizzolo, the injuries to others, and the emergency management and response.


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