A recent history of fatal fires on First Nations
Published January 14, 2022 at 4:26 pm
Three children died in a home that caught fire in Sandy Lake First Nation in northwestern Ontario on Thursday night. Here are some other fatal fires that have taken place in First Nation communities in recent years:
May 2019: A mother and her four children died following a house fire on Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, also known as Trout Lake, located about 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont.
August 2018: Two people are found dead inside a mobile home that burned down on the Frog Lake First Nation, about 200 kilometres east of Edmonton.
December 2016: Five people die in a fire that destroyed their home on the Oneida Nation of the Thames, a community south of London, Ont. They are identified as 43-year old Kurt Justin Antone, and four children — Keanu Antone, 7, Kenneth Antone, 4, Kance Antone, 3, and three-month old Kyias Antone. Oneida Nation of the Thames Chief Randall Phillips said after the blaze that the government had rejected a plea for money to upgrade 50 houses in the community.
March 2016: A fire on the remote Pikangikum First Nation in northern Ontario kills nine. The dead are identified as Dean Strang, 51, Annette Strang, 49, Gilbert Strang, 31, Sylvia Peters, 41, Dietrich Peters, 35, Faith Strang, 24, Ireland Peters, 4, Aubree Strang, 2, and Amber Strang, five months. Ontario’s Regional Chief Isadore Day blamed third-world living conditions for the tragedy, saying Pikangikum had no firefighting services and 95 per cent of homes don’t have running water.
February 2015: Harley Cheenanow, 2, and his 18-month-old sister Haley are killed in a house fire on the Makwa Sahgaiehcan reserve in Saskatchewan. The reserve had a working fire truck, but had never used it because it wasn’t properly equipped and no one was trained. The band had hired the volunteer fire department in a neighbouring village of Loon Lake, but was cut off from services. The village said the band had stopped paying its bills.
March 2013: A 14-year-old boy and a three-year-old child are orphaned after a house fire kills their parents on the Wasagamack reserve in Manitoba. The reserve didn’t have a fire dispatch service because of funding cuts.
March 2011: Demus James, 73, and his grandchildren Throne Kirkness, 2, and Kayleigh Okemow, 3, die in a fire in God’s Lake Narrows, Man. The community didn’t have a fire truck and tried to battle the flames with two water trucks.
January 2011: Daphne Benjoe, 41, dies in a house fire on the Roseau River reserve in Manitoba. Firefighters were left without water to battle the blaze, because the community’s fire hydrants were frozen, not having had their annual maintenance the previous year.
January 2011: Errabella Harper, 2 1/2 months, dies in a house fire in St. Theresa Point, Man. The community’s fire truck was broken with no fire hoses and no one knew where the keys were.
January 2010: Edward Redhead, 11, dies in a house fire in Shamattawa, Man. No one could find the fire chief and no one realized the boy was missing until several days later.
May 2009: Tristan Marcus Taylor-Mousseau, 5, dies in a house fire in Sandy Bay, Man. There were 12 people living in the house at the time.
February 2009: Hope Richard, 9, dies when the house she shares with 12 other people catches fire in Sandy Bay, Man.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2022.
The Canadian Pressinsauga's Editorial Standards and Policies