Officials still probing house fire on northern Ontario First Nation

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Big Trout Lake

KITCHENUHMAYKOOSIB INNINUWUG, Ont. — Officials are still trying to determine the cause of a house fire that killed a mother and four of her young children in a northern Ontario First Nation on Thursday.

K-I (Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug) First Nation Chief Donny Morris says the investigation is ongoing and officials have yet to remove the victims’ remains.

He says they may be flown to Toronto sometime tonight or in the next day or so to be identified.

The blaze broke out in the early morning in the community about 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay.

Morris says the roughly 1,000 people there have been hit “pretty hard” by the tragedy, and he’s asking for prayers for the families and residents affected.

He adds they’ve received a “huge” amount of support from governments of all levels, with money, groceries and human resources pouring in.

“For me it’s a very tragic event with so many families involved and affected,” Morris, who knew the family, said Sunday in a phone interview.

“I’m glad that we’re getting support from surrounding communities.”

Killed in the fire were a single mother and four of her children — aged six, seven, nine and 12. The family was a blend of biological and adopted children.

Morris said a daughter who was away on a medical matter during the fire has returned to the community “and is taking it really hard.”

Fire officials were still on site Sunday but Morris said the weather wasn’t co-operating.

“Right now at this very moment, looking outside, we have a blizzard,” Morris said. “So it’s hampering the investigation.”

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