Charred timbers and a wood stove are all that remain of a two- bedroom bungalow at the Sandy Bay First Nation, a close knit Ojibway community struggling to come to gripes with the death of nine-year-old Hope Richard in a tragic house fire.
The community is in mourning; a large extended family is homeless and a little girl with bright smile and hair the colour of a raven’s wing is dead.
The parents, Michael and Rona Dumas, were taken to hospital in Portage la Prairie along with everyone else who survived the fire. All suffered from varying degrees of smoke inhalation. Some members of the family suffered second degree burns.
The Dumas’s middle child, Harry, 21, suffered burns to his back, his arm and his ear from an attempt to rescue the little girl.
"All I remember is standing beside the washroom," he said. I tried to go closer but I got hit with something," Harry said, pointing to his injured back. Then I got hit again. And I couldn't breathe any more."
Fourteen people lived in the two-bedroom bungalow.
No cause has been determined for the fire.
Sandy Bay is located on the west shore of Lake Manitoba, about 165 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.