First Nations fire deaths stir debate
More than 30 people have died in fires on Manitoba First Nations since 2005 and there are differing opinions on how to combat the problem.
A one-year-old boy, three-year-old girl and their grandfather died on Monday when their home went up in flames on God's Lake Narrows First Nation.
Peter Watt, chief of the reserve, has said the victims didn't have a chance because the community has no fire truck.
But Sean Tracey, Canadian regional manager of the National Fire Protection Association, said on Wednesday the solution is not fire trucks, but proper education and fire prevention.
"All of these fires, in my opinion, are foreseeable and therefore they are preventable. We're just not learning from them," he said.
"We could save these lives if we have a good public education program."
First Nations leadership needs to come up with prevention programs, he added.
"I just don't think that there's recognition that this is a crisis that's being faced in First Nations communities by the Assembly of First Nations and others," Tracey said.
However, Ron Evans, grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs disagrees, calling that too simple a solution for a complicated problem.
"It's about more than that. [Tracey's suggestion] fails to see the substandard housing, the overcrowded that the leadership has to deal with in the communities," he said.
And First Nations communities need resources, such as working fire trucks, in order to have a chance at saving lives, Evans said.
Investigators from the provincial fire commissioner's office are trying to determine the cause of the God's Lake Narrows fire.