A family of six, including four children, have been killed after a travel trailer caught fire in Nova Scotia’s Cumberland County.
RCMP were called to the fire on Mountain Road in Millvale, N.S. at around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.
The bodies of six people were located. There were no survivors.
Robert Sears said in an interview with The Canadian Press that his 30-year-old son Robert Jorge Sears had died, along with his common-law partner, Michelle Robertson, 28, and four children: Madison, 11, Robert Ryder, 8, Jaxson, 4, and Colin, 3.
“He was a great Dad and loved everyone, especially his family,” Sears said of his son, adding that his son had worked for a food services company in the area.
He said the family, who lived in Amherst, N.S., had been at the trailer for a short stay, and he was still awaiting information on what had happened.
RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Chris Marshall said the trailer was parked on a plot of private land, and was not easily accessible. Officers found the roads “unpassable” and it took them “quite a bit of time” to arrive at the scene.
By the time officers arrived, the fire was out, Marshall said.
“The exterior of the travel trailer was intact,” he added.
Millvale is a small community in Cumberland County near Westchester Valley, about 50 kilometres southeast of Amherst and the New Brunswick border.
Marshall was not sure how long the camper had been parked there, but believes the family was at the location for the weekend. He said the 911 report came from someone who hadn’t heard from the family in a while, and had gone to check on them.
RCMP said the preliminary investigation has led them to believe that the fire is not suspicious at this time.
“It’s certainly a tragic situation,” said Marshall. “Members who responded, it would have been difficult for them.”
The investigation into the fire is continuing Monday with the Nova Scotia Fire Marshal’s Office, the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner’s Office and RCMP.
The Collingwood Fire Department, which responded to the fire Sunday, declined to comment on the case, citing the investigation.
Volunteer Jake Cotton said those who responded are doing “as good as we could do right now” after the horrible discovery.
Counselling available, memorial set up
Chignecto Central Regional Centre for Education has confirmed that three of the children were students in the school district.
“Right now, our priority is to support our students and staff members of Cumberland North Academy where these sudden losses will leave a lasting impact on those who knew them,” it posted on Twitter.
School psychologists, the student services consultant and school counselor will be at the school Monday to provide support.
“We send our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and community impacted by this tragedy,” the district wrote.
Amherst Mayor David Kogon said he can’t recall any time in the past 40 years when his town has had a similar death toll from a single blaze.
“It’s unimaginable, in this tragedy of a family with four small children, what it must do to their family and friends,” he said.
“It’s just unimaginable.”
A memorial has been set up at Victoria Square, where flowers and toys surround a family portrait of the victims.
— With files from Alex Cooke and The Canadian Press