Canada PM offers help with mall collapse
ELLIOT LAKE, Ontario — Canada's prime minister has offered to send in the military to help with the rescue effort at a partially collapsed mall in Ontario where at least one person has died and another may still be alive beneath the rubble, officials said Tuesday.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's spokesman Andrew MacDougall said in an e-mail that the federal government is still trying to determine how best to help.
"We've offered all of our assets," MacDougall said. "We've apprised the provincial government of federal and military capabilities and are waiting to hear what would be useful."
MacDougall said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty called Harper Monday night to inquire about bringing in the military to help.
The offer comes as local officials were vowing to employ "drastic measure" in order to resume rescue efforts stalled over fears that the unstable structure could further collapse leaving rescuers trapped inside what remains of the mall.
Rescuers detected breathing inside the rubble early Monday, but authorities enraged local residents when they called off the work later that. One death has been confirmed after part of the mall's roof collapsed Saturday afternoon, and another person is known to be still inside.
Elliot Lake Mayor Rick Hamilton said Tuesday morning emergency crews are back onsite and teams are continuing to work with the engineers on a plan but noted that the building is not secure enough to send rescue teams back in at this point.
"''It's too dangerous for people to go into that site until it's secure," Hamilton told The AP in a telephone interview. "We're holding out hope. We're going to do everything we can until such time as we can get in there."
Hamilton said he couldn't comment on plans they are considering, but Elliott Lake Fire Chief Paul officer said they would be taking drastic measures including demolishing some areas of the damaged building.
"We're all very hopeful, but we have to be realistic to a certain extent that along with drastic measures come unexpected results," Officer said.
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