Charlottetown police await autopsy results to ID 3 dead in fire

Autopsies began Sunday on the three bodies found in the remains of a vacant Charlottetown building engulfed by fire early Saturday morning.

Fire investigators still working to determine what caused the blaze

Autopsies were performed Sunday on the three bodies found Saturday morning inside a vacant building that caught fire on Mount Edward Road. (CBC)

Police in Charlottetown won't be releasing the identities of three people found dead after a vacant building fire until autopsies are complete and next of kin have time to notify all family members.

Deputy Chief Gary McGuigan said it's hoped the autopsies will shed more light on how the victims died and that officers plan to travel to Halifax to interview a fourth person who survived and was airlifted to hospital.

McGuigan said there are plenty of "rumours" floating around on social media, but it would "reckless" to identify the victims based on that. He did say police have been speaking with next of kin.

"It’s a real tragedy," McGuigan said. "We’ve lost three people here. It’s devastating for the community. I don't think things are going to to get any better as it plays out and we try and make some sense of this tragedy."

Fire investigators are piecing together how the blaze started Saturday morning in the building on Mount Edward Road, but officials said poor weather could delay efforts to determine the cause.

A Charlottetown police officer spotted the fire around 5:30 a.m. Saturday after finding an injured male outside the building. The officer was told there were people inside.

He tried to go in, but was pushed back by flames and heavy smoke. Firefighters found the three bodies inside.

Charlottetown police officers will be sent to Nova Scotia to interview the male who was injured and then airlifted to hospital in Halifax.

The building lies on land once used as a driving range and car dealership. The property backs onto Charlottetown Mall and is slated to be redeveloped.

Neighbours say young people sometimes use the building as a hangout. The windows were boarded up last year after vandalism at the site.

With files from Canadian Press