February 15, 2022

Victims of Chestermere, Alta. house fire identified by family members

The identities of a number of the victims of a fatal fire in the town of Chestermere early Friday have been confirmed by family members.

The brother-in-law of the homeowner, Amjad Kamal, tells CTV News that Asad Kamal and Rafiya Kamal, both 38, and Amjad’s wife Batool Rashid, 35, all perished in the fire.

The names of the children killed in the fire, which include a 12-year-old boy, a 12-year-old girl, an eight-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy.

Amjad, along with four children, managed to escape the burning home.

Special prayers were held at Calgary’s Green Dome mosque and at the Chestermere Islamic Centre east of the city in honour of the victims.

Imam Syed Soharwardy, with the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, says relatives of the family, some of whom have just arrived in Alberta from Ontario in the wake of the tragedy, watched livestreams of the services.

Soharwardy, who knows the family, says they’re still in shock.

Chestermere Mayor Marshall Chalmers says in a statement that “words cannot effectively express the devastation on (the) community.”

A man and his wife and children from Ontario were staying with his brother and his brother’s wife and children at the house, Soharwardy says, when the fire erupted early Friday.

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Meanwhile, residents of the community visited the site of the fatal fire to pay their respects to the victims on Saturday.

“It’s just such devastating news and we just wanted to come by and bring some flowers and show our support,” said Peter Meyer. “We just feel terrible and it’s such a loss of life and we just wanted to try to do something.”

“It’s such a sad incident that happened and my thoughts and prayers are with the family, their friends,” said Abed Harb, a Calgary resident.

“It’s always so traumatic when we lose lives this way, so innocently. They’re very active members of the community. I know people who know them directly and I hear nothing but great things about them.”

RCMP have said the cause of the fire is under investigation but initial findings don’t suggest it was deliberately set.

(With files from Jordan Kanygin and The Canadian Press)

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