In devastating news from Nothern Ontario, a mother and her four children were killed in a fire at Big Trout Lake First Nation. The house fire occurred earlier this morning, on Thursday, May 2 in the community formally known as Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug. It is a fly in town located 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay.
According to Chief Donny Morris, the house that caught on fire was a private residence and home to a single mother and her four children. All five of them tragically died in the fire and the Chief also said that some more people were injured while trying to rescue the family but none of their identities has been revealed.
They also have not been able to identify what started the fire since the fire marshall and investigators have not yet arrived at Big Trout Lake, but the Chief told CBC that the lack of proper fire fighting resources in their community only made the situation worse.
While he is unaware whether the house where the fire broke out had working fire alarms, he says the community as a whole doesn't have all the necessary equipment like fire hydrants with high water pressure. He also said that the houses in the area are older, which doesn't help.
In the aftermath of this devastating fire, crisis councillors and support teams are being sent to Big Trout Lake to help the community, which has about 1000 residents, deal with this loss.
Chief Donny Morris told CBC this loss is especially hard. He said, "Everybody is affected, especially when it comes down to kids, that's the hard part — when you know that these kids won't grow up and were lost tragically."
Other Canadians are also sharing their grief, prayers, and support for the victims and the community online.
Sending prayers to Big Trout Lake FN. Where I am registered.— Michael Robinson (@Michael Robinson)1556822572.0
@CP24 Heartbreaking. RIP.— Easternwind (@Easternwind)1556833694.0
@CP24 Very sad. R.i.p. ❤👼— caroline (@caroline)1556831925.0
@globalnews @GlobalNational condolences, prayers and big hugs for all the families involved— Sandra Kogelheide (@Sandra Kogelheide)1556832920.0
Unfortunately, this isn't the first time a fire has devastated a First Nations community in Ontario. In April of 2016, a fire broke out at the Pikangikum First Nation. In that case, nine people were killed, including a baby and two children, aged 4 and 2.
The fire this morning at Big Trout Lake is still under investigation.
Disclaimer: Cover photo used for illustrative purposes only.