Smoke inhalation has been confirmed as having caused the deaths of a woman and four children in a remote northern Ontario First Nation.
The findings were released Friday night after post mortem examinations were completed by Ontario Forensic Pathology Services and the Chief Coroner for Ontario.
The May 2 fire claimed the lives of Geraldine Chapman, 47, her six-year-old biological daughter Shyra Chapman and three foster children – seven-year-old Hailey Chapman, nine-year-old Karl Cutfeet and 12-year-old Angel McKay.
The cause of the deadly blaze at the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, also known as Big Trout Lake, is still under investigation.
Meanwhile, the community 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont., has been so overwhelmed with grief that it has declared an emergency.
Chief Donny Morris said in a release Thursday that some traumatized young people in the First Nation were even talking about suicide.
He said the community doesn’t have the resources needed to handle the demand for mental health care and has been in touch with federal and provincial government representatives.