House fire kills nine family members in Pikangikum

A trauma team has now arrived at an isolated Aboriginal Reserve in Northwestern Ontario where a house fire killed nine members of one family, including three children under the age of five.

The fire happened in Pikangikum, which is more than 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay near Manitoba. The reserve is only reachable by air and the temperature there this morning was around -11 celcius.

The trauma team will attempt to help residents of the Pikangikum First Nation cope with the tragedy at the community which has a population of more than 2000.

The fire, which began Tuesday night, has once again put the national spotlight on deplorable living conditions on aboriginal reserves.

Houses in Pikangikum have been described as being wildly overcrowded. Prime Minister Trudeau is offering condolences, adding his government will work to improve living conditions for First Nations people.

Alvin Fiddler, a grand chief representing First Nations in Northern Ontario, says Pikangikum is “Ground Zero” when it comes to infrastructure needs such as housing, access to clean water, and the capacity to fight fires.