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Fire victims in Quebec village memorialized

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February 1, 2014 12:17 PM EST | AP


L'ISLE-VERTE, Quebec (AP) — Hundreds of mourners and dignitaries filled a church in L'Isle-Verte, Quebec, to pay tribute to the 24 people who died, and the eight people still missing, after a fire burned down a seniors' residence.

About 900 people, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Governor General David Johnston and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, packed into the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church on Saturday.

Rev. Pierre-Andre-Fournier, archbishop of Rimouski, hailed the work of first responders in the Jan. 23 blaze.

Authorities have not yet determined what caused the fire.

Emergency crews have worked in sub-zero temperatures to recover bodies and evidence from the ruins.

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