7 dead, including 3 adults and 4 children, in Chestermere, Alta. house fire

Seven people from two families were killed in an early-morning fire in Chestermere, Alta. on Friday. Five others — an adult and four children — managed to escape.

The fire began about 2:30 a.m. in the city about 16 kilometres east of Calgary.

Among the dead are a 38-year-old male, a 38-year-old female, a 35-year-old male, a 12-year-old male, a 12-year old female, an eight-year-old female and a four-year-old male.

Calgary Imam Syed Soharwardy with the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada said two families, who were both Muslim, were living in the home.

One family had been in Calgary for what he described as "a long time" and the other had recently moved to Alberta from Ontario.

Friends of the family say they've spoken with the homeowner, who managed to help his two children and two of his brother's children out of the burning home.

"We have no words how much sadness we are feeling right now and how devastated we all are," said Khaleel Bhatti, a family friend.

Nareem Essa, a neighbour, says it is a "very sad incident" for everyone in the town.

"It's very shocking news. Chestermere is a small community and a very caring community."

'OUR HEARTS ACHE'

Chestermere Mayor Marshall Chalmers says the entire community is reeling from the news of the fatal fire and will join together to help the affected family grieve.

"Words cannot effectively express the devastation on our community. Our minds cannot fully comprehend the overwhelming loss," he said in a statement Friday afternoon.

"Our hearts ache for this family, this neighbourhood, and the community at large. While many will feel helpless in the face of such heartbreak, all we can do is to join together to grieve, to listen, and to support those impacted."

Chalmers also thanked the efforts of first responders as well as the many people across the province for their thoughts and prayers.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

This is a developing story and will be updated throughout the day.