Windsor·Video

Elliot Lake mall rescue workers in Windsor for fake earthquake

Rescue workers are responding to an earthquake in Windsor Tuesday - one that never actually happened.

Rescue worker who was called to the Elliot Lake mall tragedy reflects 2.5 years later

Windsor

6 years ago
2:18
Rescue worker who was called to the Elliot Lake mall tragedy reflects 2.5 years later 2:18

Rescue workers, including some who were called to the deadly mall roof collapse in Elliot Lake in 2012 are responding to an earthquake in Windsor Tuesday - one that never actually happened.

An earthquake simulation exercise is testing the emergency response teams in Windsor-Essex.

The fake quake represented 6.5 on the Richter scale, and fictitiously occurred 21 kilometres from the centre of the city.

"Throughout the city and the county there's numerous issues," said John Lee, fire prevention officer with Windsor Fire and Rescue at a news conference Tuesday.

"Hundreds of homes are reporting no heat, the bridge is questionable with structural integrity, the hospitals are running on generator power, the tunnel is closed for vehicle use, it is open for emergency use only," he said when outlining the fictitious damage.

Another exercise will bring the Heavy Urban Search and Rescue team from Toronto to Windsor on Wednesday.
The HUSAR team is using the former GM transmission plant on Walker Road for its exercises.

"They bring absolutely everything they need in order to function... without a break," said Fire Chief Bruce Montone. "They will rest on the site, they will eat on the site."

HUSAR's involvement is a response to the deadly collapse of the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake in June 2012.

The exercise is a response to the deadly collapse of the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake in June 2012. (Canadian Press File Photo)

On June 23, 2012 a portion of the mall's roof-top parking garage in the northern community came crashing down.

Lucie Aylwin, 37, and Doloris Perizzolo, 74 died and 19 others were hurt in the collapse.

It launched a public inquiry that resulted in a list of  34 recommendations specific to the rescue response to the collapse. Montone said this exercise will address approximately 20 of them.  

"Working with broken and fallen concrete and steel and metal and and trying to access victims and find victims of a collapse of that kind of nature," said Montone.

The training exercise includes up to 100 municipal and provincial emergency response personnel, including the OPP, Urban Search and Rescue, Mayor Drew Dilkens, Public Works Department, Red Cross, Windsor Regional Hospital, Windsor Utilities Commission, Windsor International Airport, Windsor Police, and more.

Windsor is in the Southern Great Lakes Seismic Zone. This region has a low to moderate level of seismicity when compared to the more active seismic zones to the east, along the Ottawa River and in Quebec. Over the past 30 years, on average, 2 to 3 magnitude 2.5 or larger earthquakes have been recorded in the southern Great Lakes region.

Clarifications

  • A previous version of this story said a public inquiry into the Algo Centre Mall collapse resulted in a list of 34 recommendations to avoid similar tragedies in the future. In fact, there were 71 recommendations in total with 34 of those recommendations specific to the rescue response to the collapse.
    Feb 24, 2015 3:31 PM ET

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