A woman's charred remains were discarded by first responders after they mistook her body for a mannequin after a fire at a clothing factory.
The surreal incident took place in Quebec, Canada after a miscommunication between police and the fire department, and the city's coroner's office is now investigating.
Firefighters were called to put out a fire at a clothing factory around 10am on Friday. At the scene, in Cabana Way, they were told by witnesses that they saw someone setting fire to a silicone mannequin, according to TVA Nouvelles.
After officers arrived they decided to put the charred figure in a police department container, out of public view.
The authorities only noticed the cock up when local police received a call four hours later from a man saying that his wife was missing.
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Authorities were able to ping her phone and tracked the missing woman's car near where the fire had occurred, the police said in a press conference.
At around 6.30pm police noticed the resemblance between the woman and what they believed had been a mannequin.
"We are obviously sorry for this situation," said Sherbrooke police service chief Danny McConnell told the Montreal Gazette.
"Rest assured that the family was notified at every key point in the investigation."
Now, the Quebec coroner's office is working with the Sherbrooke's police department to investigate the incident.
Stéphane Simoneau, head of the fire department, vowed to "shed light" on the sequence of events, which he called "unusual to say the least, perhaps shocking."
"I’m quite stunned by the news, and this applies to my entire service," he said. "First responders are in a state of shock."
He added that the authorities were "taking the situation very seriously."
Neither Simoneau nor McConnell would take media questions after their respective statements. They did not disclose further details, citing the ongoing investigation, the Montreal Gazette reports.
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