The mayor of a Quebec town where a propane explosion left three people dead last week says the identification of the victims Thursday will allow people to begin mourning.

Provincial police identified the dead as Céline Pilon, 65, of St-Roch-de-l’Achigan, Que.; France Desrosiers, 65, of nearby l’Épiphanie; and Christophe Paradis, 26, of nearby Mascouche.

Authorities found their remains on Monday at Propane Lafortune in St-Roch-de-l'Achigan, about 50 kilometres north of Montreal. The company has said two of those missing were employees and the third was a subcontractor.

Mayor Sébastien 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.

Authorities have been searching the site since Jan. 12, when an explosion and fire engulfed the building not long after 11 a.m.

Identification of #Quebec #propane blast victims means mourning can begin: mayor. #PropaneExplosion #PropaneLafortune

Provincial police Sgt. Éloïse Cossette said in an emailed statement that police will continue to assess the scene for several more days and that an investigation by the major crimes squad continues.

Isabelle Lafortune, one of the company's co-owners, declined to comment Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2023.

— With files from Marisela Amador.

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