Thunder Bay

Pikangikum fire's 9 dead included a baby, 2 young children

A five-month-old baby, a two-year old and a four-year old were the youngest of the nine victims of last week's deadly house fire in the remote northwestern Ontario First Nation community of Pikangikum, police say.

Police say the victims, all members of a family, ranged in age from 5 months to 51 years old

The cause of last week's fire on Pikangikum First Nation, which left nine people dead, is still being investigated. The nine, ranging in age from five months to 51 years, died of smoke inhalation, Ontario Provincial Police say. (Kyle Peters/The Canadian Press)

A five-month-old baby, a two-year-old and a four-year-old are the youngest of the nine victims of last week's deadly house fire in the remote northwestern Ontario First Nation community of Pikangikum, police say.

The nine victims range in age from five months to 51 years old, and all died of smoke inhalation after the fire broke out last Tuesday, police said.

In a news release, Ontario Provincial Police identified the victims as:

  • Dean Strang, 51.
  • Annette Strang, 49.
  • Gilbert Strang, 31.
  • Sylvia Peters, 41.
  • Dietrich Peters, 35.
  • Faith Strang, 24.
  • Ireland Peters, 4.
  • Aubree Strang, 2.
  • Amber Strang, 5 months.

The victims were all residents of Pikangikum First Nation, police said.

The cause of the fire, which started late last Tuesday, has not yet been determined. An investigation is continuing, but police said foul play is not suspected.

The fire in the small community, which is more than 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont., prompted some to call for an inquiry and for improved fire protection services in First Nations across the country.

Alvin Fiddler, grand chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, said after the fire that Pikangikum was in dire need of better infrastructure including housing, water systems and roads. Nishnawbe Aski Nation represents First Nations in northern Ontario 

"People are dying from overcrowding, unsafe building standards and a lack of basic firefighting equipment, and more lives are at risk," Fiddler said in a statement released last week.

Chief Dean Owen of Pikangikum First Nation said the effort to put out the fire was complicated by the muddy roads and lack of running water in most of the community.

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