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Monday, August 08, 2016

Hamilton grieves after house fire claims life of mom and her 2 kids

Brightly coloured flowers were laid amid the blackened remains of the Hamilton home left charred by a raging fire that killed a mother and two of her children on Saturday.
In the light of day, the full extent of the damage to the home is plain to see. But the damage to the family mourning the death of the victims, who relatives identified as Victoria Maire, her son Robert and daughter Abigail, runs much deeper.
Flames broke out at the Niagara Street home around 4:30 Friday morning, quickly spreading to a neighbouring house. Eleven people were in the first home at the time of the blaze. Seven of the people in the home were taken to hospital but two were not treated, the Hamilton Paramedic Service said.
One family member is still in a coma, Brittney Thorne, a cousin of Maire's boyfriend, told CBC News. The others are still recovering.
The Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal completed its survey of the horrific scene on Sunday.

"I've been to some pretty significant fires, but this is a tragic event, no question about it for the community, for the family of course," Lonnie Schubert of the fire marshal's office said Sunday.
Schubert said investigators are looking for evidence of where and how the fire started along with where any smoke detectors may have been located, and will be preparing a report.
Maire and the children were initially considered missing, but their bodies were discovered once the fire was extinguished. Thorne said the three were in the attic at the time of the blaze and investigators are looking into the role that a pot of grease left on the stove may have played.

On Sunday, Schubert wouldn't speculate as to the cause of the fire. He did say that the fire marshal's office is in contact with firefighters who may have been impacted by what they saw at the home to see how they might be able to support them.
"It can take a toll," Schubert said. "We do our best to look after our folks as well as look after people in the community when we do these kinds of investigations."
Lynn Bissett, a close friend of the family, who lives three doors down from the 70 Niagara Street home, spent the day raising money to help pay for the costs, standing on a busy roadway approaching drivers with a handwritten sign bearing the words: "Niagara Street Fire: Family in Crisis."
"It's not just one funeral; we're dealing with three," she said.

When the fire erupted, Bissett said, she ran over to the home to hug the grandmother, who she identified as Yvonne.
"There really wasn't words," Bissett said. "I tried to hug her but she was just in such shock."
The matter has been referred to the coroner's office. The Hamilton Police Service is also doing a follow-up investigation, said Staff Sgt. Don Abbott.
The family has lost everything, Thorne said Sunday, and in particular needs furniture, bedding, towels, dishes and clothes.
Thorne has set up a Go Fund Me account to help cover funeral costs for Maire and her two children.  By Sunday evening, it had raised almost $6,500.
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