The landslide that completely destroyed a house in the La Bay sector of Saguenay on Monday evening seemed like a sad déjà vu to many locals who lived through the 1996 flood. Rain is expected in the next few days.
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It’s as if Mother Nature wanted to give a sad reminder of her power to the residents of La Bay on Monday evening, just before 8 p.m., almost 26 years after the deadly landslide that killed two children in July 1996
Serge Carrier was quietly listening to the TV downstairs when everything started to shake and a deafening inside invaded the house. Soon he understood what was happening.
“It’s as if dozens of big wheels were climbing the hill forcing them to shake,” says the man, who narrowly escaped with his wife. If the city had not built a concrete wall that obstructed his upstairs neighbor’s house, his house would have been destroyed as well.
“We were leaving with her, it’s not complicated. We were going through it,” Mr. Carrier thinks, still in shock the day after the disaster.
Flood victim makes the difference
And this famous wall, which may have saved lives on Monday evening, was built by the Pierre-Michel Paulin firm at the city’s behest. The past few hours have brought to the surface very bad memories of the man who lost the family farm, which was completely destroyed by the July 1996 floods.
From Monday morning, he had a feeling that misfortune would strike him, he who was already there.
“When I saw the rain in the morning, I told my wife that something was going to happen. It was the same rain as the deluge,” said the man who came to see the extent of the damage on Tuesday at the end of the day.
“I totally understand what these people are going through. They have lost everything. It’s like the rest of us,” the man sighs.
The father of the owner of the destroyed home assured that his son was going through hard times.
“It annoys us a lot, we put a lot of time into it. It’s been four years since my son bought it and we have completely renovated it, completely remodeled the interior. Rebuilt a garage…”, explains Karl Bryson, adding that the small family of five had I somehow escaped. “If the five children had been there, it was done. No one would have gotten out of there,” the man recalls with affection.
Residents of the evacuees at the top of the bridge remain in limbo as their homes are spread dangerously over a precipice.
not the first
Camille Gilbert spent his youth in a house that had a crush. He couldn’t believe the sad scene that was before his eyes on Tuesday.
“It is a lot of memories for me. It was my father who built the house,” he stressed, adding that the result would have been a surprise to himself if the first crack had already appeared thirty years ago.
My father was evacuated for two or three weeks during the works. […] And there, we told ourselves again it was a little crack, but when I saw what happened,” he adds as he struggles to complete his sentence.
Behind him, in the rubble, are personal belongings and furniture that show the dwelling was already inhabited before the city chose to vacate it as a precaution a few weeks ago. For all the people who met on Tuesday, it was clear that the area had just avoided another tragedy.
– In collaboration with TVA Nouvelles
Victims in shock and uncertainty
The 24 landslide victims were able to retrieve their personal belongings, accompanied by firefighters yesterday evening. For a few of them, it may have been a sad farewell to their residence as uncertainty hangs over two or three homes.
“We’re sad, it’s hard,” said a resident of the Avenue du Parc roundabout atop the huge chasm left by the landslide. “This may be the last time we set foot in the house,” I whispered to a friend who had come to help her and her husband retrieve important goods, some souvenirs and some food.
Taking a look at the created cliff, we quickly understand that the couple and the two neighboring houses narrowly escaped a landslide that mowed down another dwelling below.
The owner of one of these homes was on her balcony when the land receded, according to her neighbors. This same balcony is now suspended partially in the void.
“I miraculously managed to escape,” a local resident said, adding that the lady panicked in the moments following what could have turned into a tragedy.
The weather in the next few days will be decisive for those who fear the worst. Environment Canada is forecasting rain tomorrow and Friday for the Sagueni region, which has already received massive amounts of rain since the beginning of June.
According to the latest data, the region received 144 mm of rain in 13 days, while the monthly average usually hovered around 90 mm.
The authorities point out that work is necessary today to ensure the solidity of the concrete wall that houses the currently inverted house, in addition to the large amount of soil that has accumulated at the bottom of the dam.
“We will have many analyzes to do. We will do some digging to see the extent of the damage and assess what can be done,” explained in the evening the chief of operations of the Sagueni fire department, Sylvain Bouchard, adding that dozens of other sites were “under surveillance.” in the city and that other evacuations could follow.
Three residences in St. Fulgens were also evacuated due to landslide risks.
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