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Several children believed dead in early morning house fire in Ontario’s Sandy Lake First Nation

A house fire Friday in Sandy Lake, a remote First Nation in northwestern Ontario, claimed the lives of several children, according to the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

The Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which represents 49 First Nations in the northern part of the province, issued a press release saying the fire occurred early in the morning.

The Nishnawbe Aski Police Services Northwest Crime Unit is investigating. They are being assisted by the Ontario Office of the Fire Marshal and the OPP Identification Unit – both were dispatched to Sandy Lake on Friday morning.

Sandy Lake is approximately 600 kilometers northwest of Thunder Bay.

The police did not specify the number of dead or the age, adding that it was too early to confirm this information.

Grand Chief Thanks First Responders

“This tragedy is a tremendous shock, and words cannot express the grief we share with family and community,” NAN Deputy Grand Chief Bobby Narcisse said in a statement.

“We are in contact with the leadership and have assured Chief and Council that we will help ensure they receive the support they need as soon as possible.

“Chii-miigwetch to the first responders and other community members who braved the extreme cold for hours. We heard their efforts were nothing short of heroic,” Narcisse said in expressing his thanks.

Condolences, thoughts and prayers for Sandy Lake have been shared on social media.

Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu tweeted, “Heartbroken to learn of the deaths of three children from Sandy Lake First Nation due to a recent fire. It will be an extremely difficult time for the community as it mourns the loss of these young people.”

Ontario NDP MP Sol Mamakwa and Conservative Cabinet Minister Greg Rickford also tweeted their condolences.