7 dead, including 4 children, after house fire in Chestermere, Alta.
Crews remain on scene as cause of fire is still under investigation
Seven people, including four children, are dead after an early morning fire in Chestermere, Alta.
RCMP Cpl. Tammy Keibel said five people escaped the blaze.
The cause of the fire has not been determined but a preliminary investigation does not indicate criminal activity, she said.
"It's a very tragic situation," Keibel said.
Keibel said the deceased individuals found in the house were:
- A man and a woman, each approximately 38 years old.
- A woman approximately 35 years old.
- Two 12-year-olds, one male and one female.
- An eight-year-old girl.
- A four-year-old boy.
RCMP said two related families were staying at the home.
'It was terrible, just terrible'
The house is located on the 300 block of Oakmere Close. The block is currently closed and emergency crews remain on site.
Neighbour John Martins says he woke up in the middle of the night, smelling smoke.
Thinking it was his house that was on fire, Martins went outside. There, he saw people in the street and the nearby house burning.
"They had company over last night," Martins said. "It was terrible, just terrible."
Khaleel Bhatti was on the scene on Friday afternoon. He said he knew the family, and had seen them often at prayers.
"This is a small town, small city, and they were very nice people, very humble family," Bhatti said.
Local MLA Leela Aheer choked back tears as she spoke to the media on Friday.
"I want to send my love to the family, to our community," said Aheer, who represents Chestermere-Strathmore for the UCP. "We just need to gather together as family, and as a community to help this poor family.
"I just feel gutted and … the loss of this beautiful family and the children, it's too much to bear."
WATCH | Community reacts as news spreads of fatal Chestermere fire:
To honour the family, Chestermere Mayor Marshall Chalmers attended a Friday prayer with the city's Muslim community at a local recreation centre.
In a statement, he said that words could not "effectively express the devastation on our community."
"While many will feel helpless in the face of such heartbreak, all we can do is to join together to grieve, to listen, and to support those impacted," he said.
Residents of Chestermere are asked to stay clear of the area and give crews room to work.
Chestermere is located immediately east of Calgary.
With files from Helen Pike and Elissa Carpenter