Foul play ruled out in fire that killed 3 children
Published Friday, July 24, 2009 4:06PM PDT
Mounties have ruled out foul play and arson in a fatal cabin fire that killed three children in B.C.'s southern Interior.
The children, aged 10 to 14, were all asleep Thursday morning when a fire raced through the 400-square-foot wood cabin on the south shore of Shuswap Lake, north of Salmon Arm.
The parents of one of the children were sleeping in an adjacent cabin.
A statement issued by the family Friday identified the victims as 14-year-old Fergus Conway, his 10-year-old sister, Phoebe, and their 14-year-old cousin, Azra Young. All three are from the Vancouver-area.
The Eagle Bay property has been in the Kamloops-based Collier family for four generations.
The children's bodies were removed from the charred cabin Friday after a thorough investigation by forensic teams.
RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said Mounties will work alongside the B.C. Coroner's Service and the Fire Commissioner's Office to investigate the fire cause.
Close to home
The triple tragedy has hit the close knit vacation community of Eagle Lake quite hard.
John Spink said the event hasn't fully sunk in for his children, who were playmates of the victims.
"They understand the importance of what happened here and they understand that those kids aren't around anymore and they're sad about it," Spink told CTV B.C.
The fire department was quick to respond, but unable to attempt any kind of rescue, according to Jack Blair, Regional Fire Services Coordinator.
The father of the older girl tried to run into the cabin to save the children when the fire broke out. He suffered minor injuries.
"Her father was out there and said, 'My three kids are in the bungalow,'" Spink said.
Neighbour Darlene Clough said there was little the parents could do.
"It spread so quickly that by the time the couple got there to try to rescue them they couldn't even get in," she said. "We're just praying God will bring them peace and comfort them."
It is believed a smoldering campfire on the nearby beach may be at fault.
The cabin sits only a few feet from the fire pit on the beach. A sweeping campfire ban across B.C. came into effect a day after the fatal fire.
Jack Blair said grief counselors are being offered for the firefighters who attended the call.
"It hurts whether you're volunteer firefighters, paid for on-call firefighters or professional firefighters," he said. "It hurts just as much."
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Kent Molgat