Ontario town grieves after fire kills four family members
Published Friday, March 29, 2013 8:29AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, March 29, 2013 10:17PM EDT
A small town north of Toronto is grieving after an early morning fire killed a father, mother and their two teenage sons on Friday.
Kevin Dunsmuir, 55, Jennifer Dunsmuir, 51, Robert Dunsmuir, 19, and Cameron Dunsmuir, 16, all died in the East Gwillimbury house fire. The family dog also died.
Neighbours say the family has a third son, 24-year-old David Dunsmuir, who is away at university.
Friends were devastated by the news.
“I’m going to miss him so much,” friend Joel Ziel said of Kevin Dunsmuir, a lawyer. “His family was so good to us. It’s just not fair.”
The blaze started at approximately 5 a.m. Friday morning, at a residence near Leslie Street and Mount Albert road. Officials say a 911 call was made from the home at approximately 5:30 a.m.
The bodies of the deceased were found in the master bedroom, located on the second floor of the house.
It is unclear if flames trapped the family in the room, or if they were overcome by smoke.
Jennifer Dunsmuir had lost some mobility after suffering a brain aneurysm in the past. One theory is that the sons scrambled to the master bedroom in an effort to help their father save her.
“He took very, very good care of her,” friend Karen Burnelle said. “I can’t even imagine the horror because he would not have tried to get out of the house without her.”
The community relies on a staff of volunteer firefighters. East Gwillimbury Deputy Fire Chief Philip Dawson told reporters that full-time staff were available when the fire broke out.
“With a paid, on-call volunteer service, part of the response time is coming from their house to the station because they don't occupy the station. We did have people at the station at that time, full- time people, so that would certainly benefit the response times,” Dawson said.
According to police Const. Blair McQuillan, the four family members were alive when first responders arrived at the scene.
Police were there first, and tried in vain to rescue the family trapped in the upstairs bedroom.
Residents of East Gwillimbury gathered Friday night at Robert and Cameron’s high school to honour the family.
Mayor Virgina Hackson said it was a “sad day” for the community. The family had lived in house for more than ten years, neighbours said.
“It’s a very difficult day for us as we mourn the loss of four residents,” she said.
“Our prayers and thoughts go to our community, to our firefighters and to all the family that have loss family today.”
Investigators are now working to determine what caused the blaze and whether there were working fire detectors in the house.
With a report from CTV’s Omar Sachedina and CTV Toronto’s Tamara Cherry
Kevin Dunsmuir, 55, and Jennifer Dunsmuir, 51, died in a house fire in East Gwillimbury, Ont. on Friday, March 29, 2013.
Robert Dunsmuir, 19, and Cameron Dunsmuir, 16, died in a house fire in East Gwillimbury, Ont. on Friday, March 29, 2013.
Emergency crews arrive after four people were killed in a fire that broke out in a house in East Gwillimbury early Friday morning. (Tamara Cherry / CTV Toronto)
Emergency crews are shown outside an East Gwillimbury home that caught fire early Friday morning. York Regional Police say four people were seriously injured in the blaze. (Cam Woolley/CP24.com)