'Tragic loss': Family of Chestermere fire victims releases statement
Days after a devastating house fire in Chestermere claimed the lives of seven people, including four children, the family has released an official statement about the "extremely tragic incident."
"This is an unexplainable incident that has rocked the entire community," reads a statement from the Kamal family.
Brothers Amjad and Asad Kamal and their families were asleep at the home in Chestermere when the fire broke out early Friday morning.
Amjad, the homeowner, made it outside with four of the children.
Asad and his wife, Rafiya Kamal, and Amjad's wife, Batool Rashid, perished in the fire. The family is not releasing the names of the four children, aged five to 12, who died in the fire.
Amjad and his family had moved to Chestermere from Ontario in May. Asad's family had been living in Calgary for some time, according to close family members.
"The family is distraught over the events that took place and would like to have some privacy while they grieve for this tragic loss," the statement continues.
Extended family members from Ontario arrived in Alberta this weekend to support the survivors. The memorial at the scene of the fire continues to grow as community members show support for the family.
"It's a huge tragedy. We cannot even imagine such kind of tragedies," said Muhammad Kahloon with the Pakistan Canada Association.
Kahloon and about two dozen people showed up to the fire scene Saturday evening to pray and leave flowers at the memorial.
"We are with them in this hard time, in contact with the family and with the survivors and extended family members. And... we are trying to make arrangements for the funerals," he said.
An investigation into the cause of the fire is underway, though RCMP say there is no indication the fire was deliberately set.
"We are asking the entire community including family and friends to not speculate. Rather please remember them with your prayers and send your condolences to the family," the statement ends.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family. As of Sunday afternoon, more than $45,000 had been raised.