The community of Saint-Urbain is “shaken” by the disappearance of two firefighters swept away by the sudden rise of the rivers in Saint-Urbain on Monday. The situation is “very difficult” for the families, confirms the mayor, while the efforts of the Sûreté du Québec, supported by the Canadian Armed Forces, continue to find them.
“I’m so shaken. They are volunteer firefighters. All they want is to help their fellow citizens, ”says the mayor of Saint-Urbain, Claudette Simard, on the phone.
The one who has represented the City for 36 years, as a municipal councilor and then mayor, speaks of the tragedy that has occurred in the community as an “unprecedented” situation. In the space of 24 hours, the municipality located about 20 minutes by car north of Baie-Saint-Paul, in Charlevoix, received the equivalent of 100 mm of rain.
Swelled by this influx of rain of rare intensity and by the sudden melting of snow in the mountains, the Gros bras and Petit bras rivers, two tributaries of the Gouffre river, which crosses Saint-Urbain, came out of their beds. in just a few hours.
Two volunteer firefighters, one experienced and the other recently employed by the municipality, were surprised by the violence of nature as they assisted a couple of residents stuck in their homes, explains the mayor. The latter were airlifted on Monday, but the firefighters are still missing.
“These are citizens who wanted to leave their homes, who had already [brought elsewhere] their vehicles and all that. Eventually they asked for help, and then it happened very quickly. The water rose very quickly. Otherwise, it’s obvious [that the firefighters] would not have gone to get them out, “describes Claudette Simard on the phone, while the access roads to Saint-Urbain from the south and west were still cut Tuesday. noon.
This situation is also causing “concern” in the village, especially for residents who normally get their supplies in Baie-Saint-Paul. “There are people who are worried about their medication. There are people who are no longer in their residences,” says Claudette Simard.
But above all, the situation is “very difficult” for the families of the firefighters who have been missing since Monday, she adds.
The search started Monday by the Sûreté du Québec, with the support of the Canadian Armed Forces, continues on Tuesday.
About twenty patrollers on foot and in all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), a helicopter, boats, a drone and divers are currently deployed by the police force for this purpose, indicated a spokesperson for the SQ, Béatrice d ‘Orsainville, at a press conference alongside the Minister of Public Security François Bonnardel, in Baie-Saint-Paul.
“They’ll be here for the day and our efforts will continue. We always have hope, and of course for the families, different scenarios can be considered, [but] right now, we still have hope,” she explained.