Smoke Inhalation Killed 5 in Northwestern Ontario House Fire

Smoke Inhalation Killed 5 in Northwestern Ontario House Fire

Updated: May 10, 2019 10:21 PM

Post mortem examinations have determined that smoke inhalation caused the deaths of five people in a house fire in a remote Northwestern Ontario First Nations community.

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The May 2 fire at Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation killed 47-year-old Geraldine Chapman, 12-year-old Angel McKay, 9-year-old Carl Cutfeet, 7-year-old Hailey Chapman, and 6-year-old Shyra Chapman.  The Ontario Forensic Pathology Services - Forensic Anthropology and Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario in Toronto investigated the causes of their deaths.

Ontario Provincial Police said in a May 10 news release that the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

As of May 10, a GoFundMe page had raised more than $26,000 to cover funeral costs and travel expenses for family members of the victims.  Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald called the deaths a "preventable and unnecessary tragedy."

"While we mourn now, we will be looking to seek solutions, with all parties to prevent any future unnecessary deaths of First Nations citizens due to fire," Archibald said in a news release.

The Nishnawbe Aski Nation sent a team of crisis support workers to the community following the fire.

"We were saddened to learn of the tragedy...and our prayers are with the victims, their families and the entire community during this difficult time. This is a devastating loss for the community. We have assured Chief and Council that we will support them in any way possible as they grieve in the days and weeks ahead," said NAN Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler.

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug is on Big Trout Lake, about 635 kilometers (395 miles) north of International Falls, Minn., by air.

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