The RCMP say the bodies of six members of a family were discovered Sunday evening following a fire in a travel trailer in rural Nova Scotia.
Officers were called to Mountain Road in Millvale, N.S., Sunday evening around 6:31 p.m. and members reached the area half an hour later after travelling a back road to the location, Cpl. Chris Marshall said Monday.
He said when officers arrived, they discovered the bodies of a 30-year-old man, a 28-year-old woman and four children, ages three, four, eight and 11.
It will be up to the fire marshal’s office to establish the cause of the fire, but police say a preliminary investigation suggests it was not suspicious. The medical examiner’s office will be determining the cause of the family’s deaths.
Marshall said the news has been devastating for the family of the deceased and others in the area who knew them.
“It takes a toll on the community at large,” he said. “It’s a difficult circumstance and it’s tragic.”
Millvale is a small community in Cumberland County near Westchester Valley, about 50 kilometres southeast of Amherst and the New Brunswick border.
Marshall said the family is from Amherst and was on a weekend trip to Millvale.
The exterior of the trailer was intact and “it wasn’t like we had to comb through rubble,” he said, in describing the scene.
“It’s our belief at this time it is not a suspicious fire … but we will remain there until the fire marshal’s office has confirmed this is not a criminal incident,” he said.
The time of the fire is unknown, and it’s possible it had occurred well before police arrived, even during the previous night, he added.
“My understanding is the family member who went in to check on them and then called police hadn’t heard from them since the day before,” said Marshall.
Chignecto Central Regional Centre for Education has confirmed that three of the children were students in the school district.
“Right now, our priority is to support our students and staff members of Cumberland North Academy where these sudden losses will leave a lasting impact on those who knew them,” the school board posted on Twitter.
School psychologists, the student services consultant and a school counsellor were at the school Monday to provide support.
“We send our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and community impacted by this tragedy,” the district wrote.