SAGUENAY, Que. — A Quebec father deliberately caused an explosion in his home north of Quebec City to kill himself and his two young sons, provincial police said Wednesday.
Investigators are treating the explosion on Monday morning as a double murder and a suicide, Sgt. Hugues Beaulieu said in an interview.
"The investigation shows it was a criminal act; the man blew himself up and took his two children with him," Beaulieu said.
The coroner's office confirmed the identity of the father, Dérick Lalancette, 39.
Lalancette worked in the mining industry and police say he was experienced with handling explosives. Authorities are still trying to determine what explosives were used, but the state of the home has made the investigation more complex, police said.
Representatives from the Niobec mine, a niobium mine located in the Saguenay, Que., region, confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that one of their employees died in the blast, and they said the company was co-operating with authorities.
Police said earlier this week at least two people were dead in the explosion in the basement of a home in Saguenay, about 250 kilometres north of Quebec City. But they hadn't ruled out the presence of another victim.
The next day, police identified the victims as a 39-year-old man and his two sons. A child under the age of three was found at the same time as the father, and the body of a baby under the age of one was discovered late Tuesday in the home.
"There are many things discovered during the investigation that demonstrate the suspect wanted to end his life," Beaulieu said, declining to go into further detail.
The coroner's investigation into the deaths is on hold as provincial police conduct their criminal probe.
Saguenay Mayor Julie Dufour offered her condolences and urged anyone who needed assistance not to hesitate to ask for help.
"As a mother and mayor, I want to offer my deepest condolences to the mother, loved ones and all those who have been touched by these events of unspeakable horror," she wrote on Facebook. "Remember that every gesture counts. Listen. Be kind. Life is precious."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 12, 2022.
The Canadian Press