3 killed after house fire in remote Manitoba community

OXFORD HOUSE, Man. -- Three people are dead after fire destroyed an old wooden house on a remote reserve in northern Manitoba.

See Full Article

Chief Tim Muskego of the Bunibonibee Cree Nation said the fire call came in around 6:37 a.m. Tuesday.

Volunteers and a fire truck quickly responded, but by the time they arrived the home was engulfed in flames.

"This tragedy is affecting the whole community," Muskego said Wednesday. "It is very, very devastating to each and every one of us. It is something that we have never experienced."

The community of about 2,600 people, formerly known as the Oxford House First Nation, is 950 km north of Winnipeg.

RCMP said three bodies were found in the rubble of the house.

Muskego said people in the community know who the victims are, but no names will be officially released pending the results of an investigation by RCMP and the Manitoba fire commissioner office.

The chief said the First Nation does not have a fire department and relies on volunteers who aren't really trained. Water has to be trucked to fires. Only a fraction of the community is serviced with water mains.

"Our people need to be trained in firefighting. And they need equipment. And our community also needs water lines with fire hydrants," he said.

A federal report completed in 2011 says almost half First Nations across Canada have little to no fire protection and rely too heavily on poorly trained volunteer firefighters.

The report found that fire incidence rates for First Nations are 2.4 times higher than for the rest of Canada. First Nations residents are also 10 times more likely to die in a house fire.

The Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada has said the report does not provide a complete picture of fire protection coverage in First Nation communities today.

Friends were quick to express their condolences to the family of the victims on social media.

"So sorry for your loss. I can't image how you're feeling, but I'm sending the best angels to comfort all of you," Sandra and Faith Paupanekis wrote on Facebook.

"May God help you get through this."

RCMP Sgt. Bert Paquet said at this point investigators do not believe the fire was related to any criminal act.

"As we continue to investigate, our prayers go out to the Oxford House community and the families affected," he said in a release.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Iran's supreme leader says 'no talks with U.S. at any level'

    World News CBC News
    Iran's supreme leader announced on Tuesday that "there will be no talks with the U.S. at any level" — remarks apparently meant to end all speculation about a possible U.S.-Iran meeting between the two countries' presidents at the UN later this month. Source
  • Hidden asbestos: Hundreds of homes in Peterborough, Ont., suspected of containing toxic material from GE plant

    Canada News CBC News
    When Ernie Farris walked past his childhood home in Peterborough, Ont., this summer for the first time in years, he had an alarming thought. In the late 1940s, as a young teen, he had helped his father unload a truck full of fluffy, white scrap asbestos from the local General Electric factory, spreading it in the family's attic as cheap insulation. Source
  • Green leader gets stuck in the sands of World War II history

    Canada News CBC News
    Elizabeth May is an expert on climate change and the environment. She has a law degree from Dalhousie University. And for a time, she studied theology at St. Paul's University in Ottawa with an eye to becoming an Anglican priest. Source
  • New giant salamander species now the world's largest amphibian

    World News CBC News
    Scientists have discovered a new species of giant salamander and concluded that the largest amphibian ever recorded was a member of that species. For a long time, scientists thought all Chinese giant salamanders belonged to a single species, Andrias davidianus. Source
  • Is there a way out for Hong Kong? Not likely, as protesters become more inflamed

    World News CBC News
    After more than 100 days of protest, Hong Kong is one bitter place. Anger and resentment hang in the air and explode on the streets almost daily now. And not just outside the legislature and other symbols of a deeply unpopular government. Source
  • Bernier's in — and the federal election debates just got less predictable

    Canada News CBC News
    The stage is set for Maxime Bernier. His challenge now is to perform. The leader of the nascent People's Party of Canada (PPC) yesterday got his coveted invitation to take part in the two televised debates organized by the independent Leaders' Debate Commission. Source
  • Israelis vote in repeat election centred on Netanyahu

    World News CBC News
    Israelis began voting Tuesday in an unprecedented repeat election that will decide whether longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stays in power despite a looming indictment on corruption charges. Netanyahu, the longest serving leader in Israeli history, is seeking a fourth consecutive term in office, and fifth overall. Source
  • Police respond to reports of shooting at Calgary area mall

    Canada News CBC News
    Airdrie RCMP and Calgary police are on scene at CrossIron Mills mall after RCMP received reports of shots fired at the mall at approximately 7:11 p.m. One male has been injured and the suspect is still at large. Source
  • Taiwan says Solomon Islands switches recognition to China

    World News CTV News
    TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Solomon Islands switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China on Monday, becoming the latest country to leave the dwindling Taiwanese camp. Taiwan's Foreign Ministry confirmed the move, saying the Solomon Islands Cabinet approved a resolution to recognize Beijing as the government of China. Source
  • White House orders two former aides to defy House subpoenas

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The White House has instructed two former aides to U.S. President Donald Trump not to appear at a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, saying Rick Dearborn and Rob Porter are "absolutely immune" from testifying at what the panel is calling its first impeachment hearing. Source