People in Elliot Lake say the criminal investigation launched by the Ontario Provincial Police could bring closure to the small community.

A week ago, the bodies of Doloris Perizzolo and Lucie Aylwin were pulled from the rubble following the Algo Centre Mall collapse.

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Elliot Lake residents say they hope the OPP's criminal investigation will bring some closure for the community after the mall's roof collapsed and killed two women June 23. (Amy Dodge/CBC)

And while Perizzolo's funeral concluded Wednesday, the investigation is just getting started.

Residents like Debi Milne of Elliot Lake say the mall has been in disrepair for some time.

"Absolutely, absolutely … the mall has been leaking ever since I moved up here," Milne said.

Milne moved to Elliot Lake in 1995. She said she wasn't shocked when the roof crashed down June 23.

"Everybody in the town wondered when it was that the mall was going to cave in because there were always buckets [on the floor of the mall]."

Word from the streets of Elliot Lake

The following quotes were recorded by CBC News reporter Amy Dodge:

  • "You know, I think there are a lot of people in the community that are hoping that we get answers. At one point everyone thought the mall was safe. I know when the new owner bought it everyone thought the mall was secure. They had it checked out and were told it was secure and then a month later the roof collapses."
  • "We as a citizen can't get some of the answers."
  • "No matter what the outcome is, they have to take that first step and if the powers that be feel that a criminal element was involved in the tragedy, so be it."

Statements like these are being collected by the OPP and will form part of a criminal investigation.

That investigation will determine who — if anyone — is responsible for the deaths of Doloris Perizzolo and Lucie Aylwin.

Pierre Chamberland, a spokesperson for the OPP, said the investigation will be lengthy.

"They have to be very thorough," he said. "Obviously we have to present information that will withstand the test of court."

Residents said they are pleased the investigation is moving forward.

Milne noted it could mean justice for Lucie and Doloris.

"All of the people who knew and let it go on … they have to be accountable."

For now the community is still in mourning. A memorial for Lucie Aylwin will be held Monday.