A grieving First Nation in northern Ontario has released the names of a mother and four children killed in a house fire last week.
Officials say those died were Geraldine Chapman, a 47-year-old “longtime foster parent,” her six year-old biological daughter Shyra Chapman and three foster children.
They have been identified as 12-year-old Angel McKay, nine-year-old Karl Cutfeet, and seven-year-old Hailey Chapman.
Community members say they recognized all the children as Geraldine Chapman’s and considered the blended household as a family unit.
The five were killed last Thursday in a fire that levelled their lakeside house in the community commonly known as Big Trout Lake, about 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont.
Community members say Chapman’s eldest daughter, 19-year-old Thyra Chapman, was accompanying another Big Trout Lake resident on a medical trip at the time of the fire.
Chief Donny Morris says that while the investigation into the deadly blaze is winding down, the cause is still undetermined.
He says the community is focusing on supporting the family and coping with the loss, and requests privacy until they are ready to discuss the “direct and underlying” factors behind the fire.