Wed, February 4, 2009
Child dies in reserve blaze
By SUN MEDIA
PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE -- A nine-year-old child died early yesterday morning in a house fire on Sandy Bay First Nation, a band official said.
Chief Russell Beaulieu said the fire started at about 3 a.m. in a house that held about 15 people.
"It was one of those old river units," Beaulieu said. The river units are 50-to-60-year-old houses that were moved onto the reserve, located about 75 km north of Portage la Prairie, years ago.
The house was completely burned in the fire, he added.
Ironically, one of the survivors who lost his home to the blaze is the man who runs Sandy Bay's volunteer fire department. The nine-year-old was a relative of the fire department head, Beaulieu said.
"They're good upstanding community members," the chief said.
An investigation into what happened is ongoing at the site, southwest of the band office.
Extended family members of the victims have taken them in, he noted, and the band has a crisis team helping the victims deal with the loss.
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