There will be no autopsies conducted on five people who died in a Whitehorse home over the weekend, but the coroner will measure oxygen levels in the blood of the victims.
One of the potential causes investigators are looking into is carbon monoxide poisoning. Coroner Sharon Hanley said measuring oxygen levels in blood is one way to determine if a person died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Hanley plans to release more information Tuesday morning.
The bodies of five people, including two school-aged children, were found in an old brown house decorated with Christmas lights on Centennial Street in the Porter Creek neighbourhood on the northern side of Whitehorse.
Whitehorse firefighters were concentrating their efforts Monday on a furnace smoke stack at the home. Firefighters entered the house using a breathing apparatus.
Whitehorse RCMP have said foul play is not suspected.
RCMP Sgt. Don Rogers said a friend of the family reported the deaths Sunday morning around 10:30 a.m. local time.
No names have been released, pending notification of next of kin, but police said the deceased include a family of four and an adult male boarder.
Police said investigators, along with the coroner's office, are still working to determine the cause of death. Rogers said he hopes to have more information some time Tuesday.
Rogers said it has been a difficult 24 hours for his officers along with the rest of the community.
"There are members here who are not involved in the investigation. They have school-aged children that go to school with these children, and so that is profoundly affecting the entire community. And certainly being here in the North – the smaller population – everybody is touched by these sorts of circumstances and I would expect the entire community is feeling a profound loss with these five individuals," said Rogers.
Vigil held at local school
A vigil was held for the family Monday afternoon at the Holy Family Elementary School, where one of the two children who died attended classes.
Michelle Royle, a spokesperson for the territory's education department, said counsellors are on standby to help grieving students if needed.
"They are watching for students who appear to need help. And sometimes it doesn't reveal itself right away. I think that, especially, the young ones, everybody really, it takes a while to determine your reaction to these things and as time goes on the needs change. So the school staff and the department staff are all available to provide the types of support that's required at the time," she said.
Royle said the department is letting the local schools take the lead in how to best handle the situation. A crisis team is ready and all schools have counsellors on staff.