(Officials have confirmed 2 died and three more are presumed dead in a fire on Oneida Nation of the Thames Wednesday. It’s believed to be a father and four of his children. The Canadian Press/Photo)
APTN National News
A father and four of his children are believed to have died in a house fire Wednesday on the Oneida Nation of the Thames near London, Ont.
Police haven’t confirmed the identities of the victims but said investigators have found the remains of two people, one adult and a child, but are still searching the scene for three more victims that are presumed dead.
“The community is not the same,” said Oneida Chief Randall Phillips, adding there is a not a community member who doesn’t know one of the victims.
Friends and family have already set up an online fundraising account.
“My sister’s house caught fire yesterday morning. She lost her partner and 4 of her 8 children,” wrote Storm Summers on a GoFundMe page set up in the name of the Doxtator Antone Family.
The page has raised $3,000 and said the money is for food and clothing.
Police and fire were first called around 11 a.m. Wednesday and upon arrival said the home on Townline Road was fully engulfed.
It’s believed the youngest victim was just a few months old.
“Oneida is going in total mourning for them. The father was my best friend. I’m just trying to cope with all still,” said Oneida resident Darryl Chrisjohn in a text message to APTN.
The surviving family is said to have “lost everything”.
Police and fire officials are still on scene but the cause of the fire has not been released.
Grief counselors have been brought in to assist the community.
“Devastated, heartbroken, in pain, looking for solace, looking for answers; that’s how they are doing right now,” said Phillips of the surviving family.