The last few days have been particularly dangerous in Montreal. A snow storm combined with extreme cold temperatures created a uniquely hazardous meteorological event.
Such conditions can be especially dangerous for the city's most vulneranble, particularly seniors. When sidewalks become icy, senior citizens are immobilized.
TL;DR Gilles Duceppe's mother died of hypothermia after accidentally locking herself out of her senior housing development last night.
Unfortunatetly, yesterday, a 93-year-old Montreal woman succumbed to the freezing temperatures after becoming stranded outside. According to TVA, Hélène Rowley Hotte left her senior housing development after responding to a fire alarm. She did not hear the announcement warning residents not to leave the building.
Hotte died of hypothermia after being locked outside of the Lux Gouverneur development in Hochelaga.
She was the mother of former Bloc québécois leader Gilles Duceppe. Political leaders in the province have begun to share their condolencences on Twitter.
Isabelle et moi sommes bouleversés pas le décès de Mme Rowley, la mère de Gilles Duceppe. J’offre toutes mes sympathies à Gilles, à ses frères et soeurs, ainsi qu’à toute la famille dans ce moment d’une grande tristesse.— François Legault (@francoislegault) January 21, 2019
This tragic incident has raised awareness of the particular challenges seniors face during extreme weather. Older residents are expecially susceptible to dangerous conditions. Last summer, record high temperatures killed dozens of people, mostly seniors, in Montreal.
An investigation is underway, but people across Montreal should always be sure to check on their elderly neighbours during both extreme cold and heat.