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Mayor of l'Isle-Verte says she'll be glad when reporters are gone

L'ISLE-VERTE, Que. - The mayor of a town devastated by a fire that ravaged a local seniors' residence, killing 14 people, says she'll be glad when the national media get out of town.

"L'Isle-Verte will be better off without journalists," Mayor Ursule Theriault told local reporters on Monday.

The comments were echoed by her deputy mayor, Ginette Caron, who said relatives of the dead were being pestered for comments.

"Lock your doors, stop responding," she said in comments reported on infodimanche.com.

Fire destroyed part of the Residence du Havre early Thursday and 18 people are still missing, say police.

Theriault, who has not been in municipal politics long, left no doubt she wants to be in charge of operations.

" 'I'm the boss' is what I tell the people from the SQ," she said, referring to Quebec provincial police.

Theriault cut short a holiday down south to rush back to the disaster. She said she didn't believe it had actually happened when she was first contacted.

"I thought it was a joke," she said. "I said, 'Come on'."

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