STONEY NAKODA – One person died in a house fire Sunday morning on the Stoney Nakoda First Nation, according to police and the Nakoda Emergency Management and Services.
The Stoney Nakoda RCMP said a 51-year-old man died in the Nov. 21 fire and it remains under investigation as staff from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner complete their work.
“Unfortunately, the male resident was declared deceased at the scene,” said Cpl. Troy Savinkoff, a member of the Cochrane and Stoney Nakoda RCMP detachment.
"He has been transported to the medical examiner (in Calgary), who we’re working with to determine cause of the fire and the cause of his death.”
Savinkoff said a security setup remains at the home as the investigation is being completed by fire investigators and the medical examiner’s office.
“There’s some investigational steps we’re undertaking to determine if it’s suspicious, but as of yet there’s nothing that we see as outright suspicious for this investigation.”
The fire began early in the area of Chiniki Lake at about 3 a.m. and saw firefighters from Exshaw Fire-Rescue and the Nakoda Fire Department attend the scene.
Mike Crawford, the director of Nakoda Emergency Management and Services, said more information on the person who died could not yet be released because it's an active investigation.
“They are still under investigation. Unfortunately the fire at Chiniki Lake started, the family rushed to get out and unfortunately one person didn’t get out,” he said.
Crawford said Exshaw Fire-Rescue was the first to the scene and the Nakoda Fire Department then arrived on site.
Rick Lyster, the fire chief for Exshaw Fire-Rescue, said they arrived with two trucks and five firefighters and were on scene until about 9 a.m.
The two departments were also involved in extinguishing a fire at an abandoned house Saturday (Nov. 20) at about 6 p.m. in the Spring Hill area.
Crawford said the Nakoda Fire Department arrived on scene followed by Exshaw Fire-Rescue.
Lyster said Exshaw Fire-Rescue had two firetrucks and six firefighters on scene and assisted between 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
Crawford said the abandoned home was a total loss and the Stoney Nakoda RCMP detachment was investigating both fires.
Savinkoff said the investigation is continuing to determine the cause, but that there were no injuries at the abandoned home.
With the two fires beginning close to one another, Crawford highlighted the importance of ensuring a home is always safe from potential fires.
“Make sure you have lots of smoke detectors in your house and they’re tested regularly, so the batteries are operational, and keep combustible materials away from heating units,” he said. “It’s important to be careful and fire conscious.”