Neighbours of two people who perished in a fire overnight Friday are coming together to support the family.
The blaze ravaged a second-storey apartment in a building at 1955 Duff Court in the Montreal borough of Lachine, taking the lives of a 40-year-old woman and her eight-year-old daughter. Police say they died from smoke inhalation.
The woman’s four-year-old girl is still clinging to life in hospital while the mother’s twin 13-year-old boys escaped with minor injuries.
Police believe the fire was caused by a cigarette but the investigation is still ongoing.
Residents who live in the building and surrounding homes say they are trying to come to terms with what happened.
“They’re a very nice family,” said Aaron Jennings, who lives in the building. “The kids were very well raised. Every day after school you’d see the brothers who would bring the two sisters to the park.”
Others are thinking about the surviving children.
“It’s such a shame, such a shame that these children are now without a mother,” said Sue Weekes, shaking her head as she stood in front of a makeshift memorial for the victims set up on the steps leading up to the apartment. She lives close by in another building on the same street and knows the family.
Some are trying to find ways to help, and Le Comité de vie de quartier Duff-Court (COVIQ) is spearheading efforts to support the family.
“Well, we will first meet the family, try to have a picture of what the situation is, what their immediate needs are,” general manager for the group Shawn Bourdages told Global News. “We will put our human resources, material resources towards finding solutions for them.”
He added that they’re also trying to raise $10,000 via an online platform for anyone who wants to donate. Others are collecting clothes and non-perishable items for the family, an effort they are trying to coordinate with COVIQ.