‘There is nothing left’: 4 family members believed dead in cottage country fire near Toronto
A Toronto family of four is believed dead after a southeastern Ontario cottage burned to the ground in what provincial police are calling a “Christmas tragedy.”
Police were called to the residence on Hamilton Drive North in the McCracken’s Landing area near Peterborough shortly after 4 a.m. ET on Saturday.
Emergency service workers found two people and two family pets dead. No survivors were found at the scene.
Police are still searching for two other family members who are presumed to have died in the fire.
Cottage ‘burned to the ground’
Police have not yet confirmed the victims’ identities, but area resident Karl Kustor said they are a Toronto family of four — two parents and two boys — whom he’s known for almost 10 years.
They were a “real nice family” who were excited to come up to their cottage for Christmas, he told CBC Toronto.
Kustor, who owns the nearby Harbour Town marina complex with his wife, said the family have been longtime clients of his businesses.
Kustor’s family also got to watch the two boys grow up, he said. “The boys were typical boys who played hockey, fished and truly loved the lake.”
The family had recently bought the “large, wooden” mainland cottage after having an island property for years, Kustor said.
When Kustor went to view the fire damage this weekend, he said the cottage had “burned to the ground.”
“It has been hard for any of us to think of anything else,” he said.
Police not identifying victims
Provincial police Const. Jason Folz said the fire marshal is searching the rubble again on Sunday for the remaining victims, but the process of removal will likely come on Monday.
“The grim prospect of spending Christmas Day going through the rubble is pretty devastating for our people, and I’m pretty sure the fire department, as well,” Folz said.
“There is nothing left” of the cottage, he added.
Police won’t be identifying the victims until postmortem examinations have been completed.
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