Police addressing a brush fire in Quebec, Canada, are accused of mistaking a woman’s burnt body for a mannequin and then placing it in a police station dumpster. Officials held a press conference Thursday and apologized for the blunder.

On July 23, firefighters responded to a small brush fire near a factory on Cabana Street. After first responders arrived at the scene, they were made to believe by witnesses that a mannequin was on fire, CBC reported

"When they arrived, witnesses declared that someone had lit a silicone mannequin on fire," Sherbrooke Police Chief Danny McConnell said, according to the report. Firefighters then sought assistance from police.

McConnell further said that the police and fire departments at the scene decided to dispose of what they thought was a mannequin in the container at the Sherbrooke police service. The container is inaccessible to the public. 

Four hours after the body was disposed of, a man filed a missing person's report for his partner. Police then traced the woman's cellphone to a car parked near the scene of the fire on Cabana Street, the New York Post reported

After an officer drew a link between the two events, police pulled the corpse out of the trash and identified it as the body of the missing person. 

In the press conference Thursday evening, the heads of the police and fire departments in Sherbrooke apologized for mishandling the body by throwing it in the trash by mistake. 

"We are obviously sorry about this situation and rest assured the family is being advised about every key detail of this investigation," McConnell said, adding: "Our hearts are with the family, her partner and the kids in this very tragic situation."

According to Dr. Robert Nicholson, a pathological anatomist, human bodies are made of 60% of water. So sometimes burnt victims could be mistaken as mannequins after they lose that water in a fire, he said.

"If somebody is a burn victim and most of the water is gone, then there is nothing but the results of the burn. It doesn't look like a normal person and it doesn't feel like a normal person," Nicholson was quoted as saying by CBC.

Police have not yet identified the victim’s cause of death, but McConnell said that it looks "suspicious."

dumpster-1517830_1920 Dumpster Photo: Pixabay