Autopsies to be performed on three who died in Charlottetown fire

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Three bodies found in early morning fire Saturday, one man airlifted to Halifax

CHARLOTTETOWN - The bodies of three people found in a burning building in Charlottetown Saturday have been taken to hospital and autopsies will be performed to try to determine what caused this tragedy in Prince Edward Island.

Fire investigators continue their investigation into a fire that left three people dead and one injured Saturday in Charlottetown. 

Three are dead and one has been airlifted to the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Halifax following a blaze in a vacant building on Mount Edward Road early Saturday morning.

Charlottetown Deputy Police Chief Gary McGuigan said the three bodies have been taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown for autopsies to be performed Sunday morning.

“Following that, we hope to have some more information,” he said.

The fire was discovered around 5:30 a.m. Saturday.

A police officer came upon an injured teenaged male standing in front of the building, which was rapidly becoming engulfed in flames and thick, dark smoke.

He had been in the building and had managed to escape, but he told the officer three of his friends were still inside.

He was airlifted to Halifax to be treated for his injuries.

Police attempted to enter the building but were forced back by intense smoke and heavy fire.

Fire efforts were further impeded by the deep snows from a blizzard earlier this week. Neighbours said firefighters were trying to dig through the snowdrifts, searching for a hydrant.

McGuigan said investigators are still in the process of trying to positively identify the three victims.

But he did confirm the individual who survived was a ‘young’ male.

Multiple sources have told the Guardian all four individuals, including the three who died, were teenagers from the Montague area.

McGuigan also said there was no electricity in the building, so the cause of the fire is not believed to be electrical.

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“It was ignited by some other means,” he said.

The building had been vacant for close to five years, and neighbours told TC Media it was boarded up and covered in graffiti.

Most of the people who live along the stretch of road said they never saw anyone coming or going from the building, but did often see young people hanging around the area in the summertime.

Greg Aitken, who lives directly across the street, said he did hear music and noise from what he suspected were parties taking place in the building several months ago.

“We knew this summer that there were kids in there, because you could hear the racket,” he said.

“We didn’t hear anything this winter though.” 

Neighbours said the flames were several feet above the roof and the smoke was thick and black when the fire was at its height Saturday morning.

Roads in the area, including a section of Mount Edward Road, were blocked off by police for several hours Saturday morning and afternoon as firefighters worked to douse the flames.

McGuigan said the province’s fire inspector will remain on the scene for the remainder of the night to try and determine the origin of the fire.

Police have secured the premises and will also remain on site throughout the night.

Organizations: Charlottetown Fire Services, Charlottetown Fire Department

Geographic location: Halifax, Charlottetown

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  • buote
    March 30, 2014 - 07:03

    Thoughts and prayers are with the families of these people