Mishkeegogamang First Nation appealing for support from neighbours in dealing with fire tradegy

From CBC.ca

Mishkeegogamang chief to demand fire safety inquest

Posted: Feb 18, 2014 

The chief of Mishkeegogamang First Nation says she will push for a coroner's inquest into fire safety, after a house fire claimed the lives of four people in the community last week.

Connie Gray-McKay said she will wait for the Ontario Fire Marshal's report to find out how the fire happened, but said it shouldn't take a tragedy to get the federal government to pay attention to fire risks in First Nations communities.


Mishkeegogamang Chief Connie Gray-McKay says the federal government does not provide enough funding to deal with the root causes of fires. (Jody Porter/CBC)

"The underlying roots ... need to be addressed," she said. "[Those] underlying roots [include] inadequate housing and ... inadequate resources to our communities. Those have to be pushed."

Gray-McKay said there was another deadly fire in Mishkeegogamang First Nation a couple of years ago and the community has expressed its worries about fire safety for years.  

"All our concerns and all our desires to make our community safe have fallen on deaf ears," she said. "It's not until something tragic like this happens that does anybody ever move."

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From CBC.ca

Mishkeegogamang chief says community 'immobilized' by fire deaths

Posted: Feb 17, 2014

The chief of Mishkeegogamang First Nation in northwestern Ontario says the community has been immobilized by shock since a deadly house fire broke out last Thursday. 

"[It's] so sudden and shocking what's happened," Chief Connie Gray-McKay told CBC News on Monday. "It's going to take a very long time to ... recover from this."

The Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service issued a news release Monday morning confirming the remains of four people had been found at the scene.

The release said the confirmation was the result of a joint investigation by the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service, the Ontario Provincial Police Forensic Identification Service, the Ontario Fire Marshal, the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service and the Office of the Chief Coroner.

Post-mortem examinations are to be conducted in Toronto later this week.

Police said the investigation is ongoing and updates will be released as they become available.

Support appreciated

The fire started at about 3 a.m. Feb. 13 in the community located about 320 km northwest of Thunder Bay.

Gray-McKay appealed to surrounding communities to help support Mishkeegogamang First Nation members in the coming days.

"Any sort of support that they can give us, we really appreciate it," she said. "Especially ... their prayers and good thoughts to be pushed our way because we really need that right now."

Gray-McKay added that food contributions would also be welcome, as many visitors are expected to arrive in the aftermath of the tragedy.