The community of Pimicikamak First Nation, also known as Cross Lake, is grieving after the death of a toddler and two teens in a house fire over the weekend.
Mounties near said they received calls to a house fire in the early hours of Saturday, Feb. 12.
RCMP say they were unable to enter the home which was “engulfed in flames”, but four of the seven people in the home were able to escape out a window.
Chief David Monias says the tight-knit community is grappling with the loss.
“You try to find a silver lining, but it’s hard,” said Monias. “This is going to (be) hard for the family to deal with.”
RCMP say they are currently investigating what caused the fire, and haven’t released anymore information.
It’s the third fire in the past month in which youth on First Nations in Canada have died. Last month, Sandy Lake First Nation lost three children under 10 in a house fire, and in southern Alberta a six-year-old died from Siksika Nation.
A recent Statistics Canada study found First Nations people living on reserves are 10 times more likely to die in a fire than non-Indigenous people.
The deadly fires have sparked conversation around housing conditions.
“We have overcrowding, and there are multiple blended families living in one household,” said Chief Monias.
Monias says he’s waiting for Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) to answer his calls for rapid housing.
ISC said in an email statement they would be sending emotional supports to Cross Lake First Nation.
Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson says she plans to visit the community next week while on a trip to northern Manitoba.