Elders to review housing safety after fatal fire
Elders on a Vancouver Island reserve where two young boys were killed in a house fire this week say they will the community to make sure band members' houses are safe.
Seven-year-old Devon and nine-year-old Jordan Drake died early Wednesday morning when a blaze broke out in their neighbours' home on Snaw'Naw‘As First Nation land near Lantzville. The brothers had been moved from their family home the night before the fire because high winds and falling trees had led to concerns about their safety.
Family members say that the fire was caused by candles that had been lit during a power outage.
Natasha Bob of the Nanoose First Nation says that community elders plan to check homes on the reserve to see if they can be made safer to prevent further tragedy.
"In all of our communities, it always is one of those issues that does come up. At the same time, this is one of those isolated incidents that you just can never be prepared for," she told CTV News.
The little boys are both being remembered as great kids. Friends of the family say that Jordan was kind-hearted and well-liked by his classmates, while Devon was a tough little guy who seemed to have no fear.
Two other children and two adults were also inside at the time of the fire, but managed to escape. The family did not have insurance and lost everything in the blaze, including two vehicles.
A trust fund has been set up for them and for the family of the two young victims, and offers of help have been pouring in from First Nations from across B.C.
RCMP Sgt. Sheryl Armstrong, who has worked in small communities and First Nations for most of her career, says that's inspiring.
"It was always amazes me that when tragedy strikes in a small town, or in this case a small nation, how everybody does pull together. Everybody lets go of their past feelings and they're there to support everybody," she said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's St. John Alexander