Mall victims lawyer wants in on Elliot Lake inquiry
Douglas Elliot says commission needs to hear victims' stories
The lawyer leading the class action case for those injured in Elliot Lake's Algo Centre Mall collapse says he is seeking participation in the public inquiry that is slated to begin in January.
Douglas Elliot said the commission needs to hear how hundreds of people have been affected by the collapse — including people like Mary Hiley who, until a recent thunderstorm in Elliot Lake, didn’t realize how the sound of falling concrete haunts her.
"Every time [the thunder] banged, I jumped," Hiley said. "That was the sound that you could keep hearing from the mall … [but] the mall was much worse."
Hiley was on the second floor in the Algo Centre Mall when concrete slabs came crashing down killing Lucie Aylwin and Dolores Perrizolo and injuring 20 others. She said she was just on her way to get groceries, but didn't make it.
She said she's amazed that she survived, but now she's living with the psychological impact.
More to be named in lawsuit
Elliot said Hiley’s story echoes many other similar tales.
"One young man … witnessed one of the people being killed," Elliot said. "He's psychologically traumatized. We don't know if he'll ever recover from that."
Elliot said he will apply to participate in the public inquiry to present his clients' testimonies.
The public hearings are expected to last two months.
In July, a class action law suit was filed on behalf of hundreds of people against the City of Elliot Lake, the owner of the mall, and the engineering firm that worked on the mall. In September, the Province and two engineers involved with MR Wright engineering firm from Sault Ste. Marie will be added.