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Missing UCSD neuroscientist feared dead after Montreal building fire

By Misha DiBono,


SAN DIEGO — The search continues for victims a week after a massive fire tore through a historical building located in what’s known as the Old Port District of Montreal, Canada.

According to Canadian authorities, the fire broke out Thursday morning at about 5:45 a.m., trapping victims inside.

One of those victims is believed to be Dr. An Wu, a neuroscientist at UC San Diego. According to a GoFundMe account set up by her colleagues, the 31-year-old was attending an academic conference and was booked into an Airbnb on the third floor of the historic building.

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Nine people were taken to the hospital. Two bodies have been recovered and five more remain missing.

Canadian authorities say they are using specially designed devices to get to hard to reach areas of the building without jeopardizing their own safety.

The three-story building is a total loss with the floors and roof collapsing making it too dangerous for investigators to go inside. They are using high-tech devices cameras to identify areas where bodies may be located.

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On Tuesday, they recovered a second body from the rubble. That person has not yet been identified. It comes a day after the first recovered body was identified as 76-year-old Camille Maheux.

“We are well aware that the wait is going to be very hard and painful for the families, especially each time we announce the discovery of a new victim in the rubble,” an official said at a news conference.

Authorities careful to set the expectation that the recovery process and identifying victims will take time, most likely using dental records and DNA. This tragedy has prompted Montreal police to crack down on Airbnbs, which are banned in the city.

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