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Ceremony underway for fire victims

A ceremony is underway in the Quebec village of L'Isle-Verte to remember the victims of last week's fire at a seniors' residence.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Gov. Gen. David Johnston and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau are among those in attendance.

The local church in L'Isle-Verte is packed as the 900-person congregation remembers the 24 declared dead and the eight other people listed as missing.

Others in the church include Premier Pauline Marois, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Lac-Megantic Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche, whose community was devastated last July when a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in the downtown core.

Forty-seven people died in that tragedy.

Marois has requested that flags on government buildings fly at half-mast today.

Authorities have not yet announced the cause of the Jan. 23 blaze.

Emergency crews have worked in sub-zero temperatures to recover bodies and evidence from the rubble of the seniors' home.

Special machines to melt thick sheets of ice coating the structure have been used to help them gain access.

The residence had 52 units and many of its occupants had limited mobility, needing wheelchairs or walkers to get around.

The Canadian Press

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