With the world watching in horror, a small town in northern Ontario was overwhelmed by a flood that destroyed more than 1,000 homes.
The city’s mayor and a small number of other local residents are facing charges of manslaughter and failing to act quickly in a time of emergency.
In a statement released Friday, the city said it is launching a review of how it handled the emergency.
Mayor Brian Sneddon said his office received a phone call from a friend of his earlier in the morning on Aug. 19, informing him that the city had received an email alert about the flood.
Snedno said he received a text from the same friend, who told him the flood was “coming.”
The friend said his son was on his way to the nearby village of Lac la Biche with his mother and grandmother.
He was headed for a lake to take a dip with his grandparents.
“I was very thankful,” he said. “
“My wife and I, our kids and our dog, were sitting in the boat watching the boat go by. “
I was very thankful,” he said.
“My wife and I, our kids and our dog, were sitting in the boat watching the boat go by.
We were very worried about our kids.”
He said he told his wife to call 911, but the dispatcher was not available.
Sueddon said the mayor’s office called his wife and told her there was a problem and that they could not help.
He said his wife texted his children and said they needed to go, but he did not hear back from them.
His son was found about 1 a.m. on Aug 21 by a volunteer who spotted him and called the police.
The man, who was not named, told CBC News he went to the lake to swim with his son, but was not sure where the boat was.
He told police he had not been in the area for several days.
The investigation was hampered by a lack of resources, Sneddeys office said.
Sreddon said he was aware of the mayors office’s decision to suspend the mayor and other officials for a week, but that his office has taken action to restore some services and the city is reopening its emergency operations centre.
“The city of Toronto has taken some actions, including suspending the mayor, and we are doing more to reopen it,” he wrote in a statement.
“We are doing that right now, and our priority is to restore all services as quickly as possible.”
The mayor said his staff is looking into the possibility of hiring additional staff.
He thanked the public for their help.
“It was an amazing day,” he added.
“This was the first day of summer and it was the best thing I’ve ever done.”
In addition to the charges, Smeddon is also facing criminal negligence charges.
He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.
He has a $10,000 fine.
He is due to appear in court for a bail hearing in the next couple of weeks.