Police identify last victim found at Quebec explosion site

Three died in an explosion at Propane Lafortune in Saint-Roch-de-l'Achigan, Que.,  Thursday, Jan. 12.  (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Three died in an explosion at Propane Lafortune in Saint-Roch-de-l'Achigan, Que., Thursday, Jan. 12. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The last of three bodies found at the site of an explosion at a propane distributor in Saint-Roch-de-l'Achigan, Que. was identified Thursday, one week after the blast.

Christophe Paradis, 26, was a subcontractor at Propane Lafortune, according to the company.

Complexe funéraire Roy de Mascouche
Complexe funéraire Roy de Mascouche

Propane Lafortune, a family-run outlet that sold propane and heating oil in the small town north of Montreal, was rocked by an explosion Jan. 12.

Nearby homes had to be evacuated and firefighters came from across the region to extinguish the raging fires.

On Monday, provincial police confirmed three bodies had been found. The next day, two were identified as Céline Pilon and France Desrosiers, employees of the company.

Mayor Sebastien Marcil said in a statement that the explosion had left residents with three questions: who, why and how?

"The confirmation of the identity of the three missing people today is the answer to one of them and allows us to begin mourning, a step that is as normal as it is essential, seven days after these events," he said.

He also thanked the investigation teams that have been deployed.

"We hope that all energies can now be devoted to finding answers to the questions that remain and, above all, to the circumstances that led to such an explosion in order to avoid it happening again in the future," he said.

Viateur Lamarche, who worked at the company for 18 years before retiring in 2020, said he worked with Pilon for around 10 years, describing her as someone who helped her colleagues with their work. He said Desrosiers had been working at the company for at least five years.

The Sûreté du Québec said the investigation into the cause of the blast by its major crimes division could be long and complex.