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

  • Some residents free to go home as B.C. evacuations orders are downgraded

    Canada News CBC News
    Many wildfire evacuees from Princeton, B.C., are being allowed back into town after an evacuation order was downgraded to an alert on Saturday morning. For some, it's been more than two weeks since they left home. Source
  • German girl who converted to Islam found working for ISIS in Iraq

    World News CTV News
    BERLIN -- A German girl who ran away from home shortly after converting to Islam has been found as Iraqi forces liberated the northern city of Mosul from Islamic States forces, German and Iraqi officials said Saturday as authorities tried to figure out what to do with her. Source
  • Errant U.S. bombing kills 12 Afghan security forces: police

    World News CTV News
    KABUL -- An errant U.S. airstrike confirmed by the Pentagon killed 12 Afghan National Police officers and wounded two others, as another 11 police were killed and six wounded in clashes with the Taliban, Afghan officials said Saturday. Source
  • Democrats herald agreement on sweeping Russia sanctions bill

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Congressional Democrats announced Saturday that a bipartisan group of House and Senate negotiators have reached an agreement on a sweeping Russia sanctions package to punish Moscow for meddling in the presidential election and its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria. Source
  • Son allegedly kills father, leaves corpse on couch for weeks

    World News Toronto Sun
    FRACKVILLE, Pa. — A man has been charged with killing his father, who authorities say was shot to death and his body then left on a couch in his home for weeks. Tyler Swantek, 24, faces charges in Schuylkill County including criminal homicide, first- and third-degree murder, aggravated assault and abuse of a corpse in the death of Todd Swantek, 49, whose body was found May 24 in the Frackville home the two formerly shared. Source
  • Man faces charges after allegedly chasing parking officer who ticketed him

    Canada News CTV News
    Toronto police say a 27-year-old man was charged with assault after he allegedly threatened and chased down a parking enforcement officer with his car. Investigators say the officer saw an unnocupied car parked in a fire route and left a parking ticket on Thursday. Source
  • Florida teens who recorded drowning and laughed could be charged

    World News CBC News
    A group of Florida teenagers who recorded a man drowning on cellphones and laughed about it rather than calling for help could face charges, according the police chief in Cocoa, Fla. The five teenagers, aged 14 to 16, can be heard laughing as they record more than two minutes of the man struggling to stay afloat in a pond near his family's home. Source
  • Friends and family mourn Hanock Afowerk, one of four Sage Hill homicide victims

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    As the heartbroken family of Hanock Afowerk return his body home to Toronto for burial this weekend, investigators are trying to unravel how the affable 26-year-old — with no significant criminal background to speak of — came to be the target of a deadly plot. Source
  • Ceasefire in effect in parts of Syria, but fighting intensifies on Lebanese border

    World News CBC News
    The Syrian army command says it has ceased its military operations in several areas near the capital Damascus but warned it will retaliate against any attack by militants. The command said in a statement carried by state TV that the cessation of operations began at noon local time Saturday. Source
  • Experts inspect Greek quake damage; islanders sleep outdoors

    World News CTV News
    KOS, Greece -- Crews of experts on Saturday began examining the damage to infrastructure and cultural monuments on the eastern Greek island of Kos after a powerful earthquake killed two tourists and injured nearly 500 others in the Aegean Sea region that stretches to Turkey's sprawling coast. Source