Blistering heat wave claims 54 lives in Quebec

People cool down in a public pool in Montreal Thursday

The victims who succumbed to the heat were between the ages of 50 and 85 and did not have air conditioning in their residences and lived alone in apartments, officials said.

While the stifling weather also hung over Ontario and parts of Atlantic Canada, no deaths had been reported elsewhere, in part because various jurisdictions have different ways of gathering data on heat-related fatalities.

Officials say none of the deaths occurred in a hospital and that the deceased were already suffering from existing health problems. "We're inviting the population to be vigilant for the next two days - for themselves as well as those close to them".

The record-breaking heat wave began June 29.

Environment Canada issued a smog warning as "high concentrations of pollutants are expected to persist through the night".

The other victims were reported in the southwest of the French-Canadian province, the Quebec health ministry said.

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People with chronic illness are particularly at risk, said Nicola Dulisse, head of Urgences-sante.

"The higher temperatures and humid Sunday and Monday will mostly affect southern Quebec", said Serge Mainville of Environment Canada, according to CNN news partner CBC.

Media reports that Quebec is experiencing this heat for the first time in the last few decades.

None of the victims had air conditioning, and Kaiser said a lot of them died inside of their homes.

In Montreal was 28 deaths, in the Mauricie region killed 7 people, in the regions of Laval, Laurentide and Lanode - 1 fatal case, in Estrie, nine people were killed, and of Monteria - six.

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